Pasta is a dish loved by many and is gaining more popularity in India, where it’s consumption was traditionally limited to a select set of people. At the same time, pasta is an interesting dish. It can allow you to experiment quite a bit with it’s preparation and there is a wide variety that can be prepared. Rather than gorging on plain pasta, it is better to make use of some innovative base to add more color and flavor to it.
Here are some sauces you can experiment with!
Pesto sauce, prepared using basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper, is best eaten in summers since its ingredients grow best in this season. Fresh basil (tulsi) has a wonderful pungent aroma and an incredible flavour with several health benefits. Pesto, which originated in Genoa, Italy, comes from the Italian word pestare which means to pound. The traditional way of making pesto is using pestle and mortar to lightly crush the basil leaves to release its flavours. A modified version of pesto could include use of few pudina leaves and coriander paste to make it healthier and refreshing.
Red sauce for pasta is made of fresh tomatoes, garlic, chopped onion, red chili flakes, black pepper, dried parsley, dried basil and olive oil. The generous use of tomatoes, especially in the form of puree, increases the availability of lycopene, an anti-oxidant that helps reduce risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, has been suggested as being responsible for the lower cancer rates in that region.To increase the nutritive value of this sauce, one can add boiled rajmah puree to it.
Pasta sauce can be prepared using spinach as the base as well with spring onions, garlic and parsley added for flavour. To this paste, American corn and capsicum can be added alongwith pasta to improve nutritional quality.
Basically white sauce is made using refined wheat flour (maida), butter, full fat milk and seasonings. It can be modified to include only 1tsp flour and butter mixed with larger quantities of low fat milk to obtain a thinner sauce. This could help decrease the calorie content of the sauce to a large extent without compromising much on the taste.
It is advisable to add generous amounts of vegetables (mushrooms, capsicum, olives, cherry tomatoes, etc) to increase the fibre content and nutritional value of your pasta.
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