Thursday, 1 January 2015

ELBOW MACARONI IN HEALTHY GREEN SAUCE - LET'S GO GREEN



This is my first post of the year 2015. So I want to wish you all, beautiful people out there A very Happy, Healthy and Hearty 2015. This new year I wanted to commence with a mission, a mission to GO GREEN. It is my humble and earnest effort to introduce my little D and my family to the wonders of eating healthy and eating fresh.

Food which is full of nutrients and are recommended for us can be very delicious and not bereft of any taste as the common perception is. Green food would mean more natural bounty on our dinning table and I will put forth dishes which are green and supremely palatable. I will not use any artificial colouring or flavours but use all the natural products available to us to enhance both the visual appeal and appease our taste buds at the same time.

You can therefore look forward to the entire month of January, for recipes of Green dishes which I hope will enable you to endorse strongly the inclusion of more green beautifully incorporated with your every meal. More Greens mean more health on your plate. More Greens also is your secret armour to prevent any kind of maladies and health conditions from touching you. These days when everywhere we hear "Prevention is better than Cure" then why would we not try to prevent by increasing our intake of everything Green.


The green colour in fruits and vegetables is because of the natural plant pigment Chlorophyll, which thereby provides you with nutrients that help decrease risk of several serious medical conditions. Green coloured produce is rich in vitamins K, C & E and antioxidants which studies say helps lower risk of Chronic Diseases. So start including more of Spinach, Leafy Dark Greens Like Collard Or Mustard Greens, Cabbage, Green Plantains, Broccoli, Peas, Peppers, Kiwi, Pears etc. in your daily intake of natural produce.

To sum it up the mission is to Go Green but have lots of mouthwatering dishes on your plate at the same time. So let's start with today's recipe of Elbow Macaroni in a Healthy Green Pasta Sauce. When you say pasta most children will say yes and their face will light up with a smile of approval. So why not start by turning our dear lovable Pasta Green. I want to introduce you to a sauce which is bright green in colour, has a lovely combine of new ingredients while retaining a few old ones, is creamy and flavourful, but does not use cream or cheese. I have used meat in my recipe but you can omit that and get a perfect Vegeterian and Vegan Dish. So let's get Cooking.


ELBOW MACARONI IN HEALTHY GREEN SAUCE RECIPE :


TYPE : MAIN / PASTA DISH
SERVES : 4
TIME : 10 MINUTES PREPARATION + 20 MINUTES COOKING TIME

INGREDIENTS :

1) 400 Gms. Of Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni
2) 100 Gms Bag of Baby Spinach. I used fresh normal Spinach from my kitchen garden.
3) 140 Gms of Fresh or Frozen peas. If fresh Blanche the peas. If frozen defrost them. I have used frozen peas.
4) 3-4 sprigs of Basil, leaves picked and a few reserved to serve
5) 15-20 Raw Almonds
6) 1 Small Carrot roughly chopped. Increase the quantity to 2 Small carrots if you are not using meat.
7) 5-6 Button Mushrooms. Increase to 9-10 mushrooms if you are not using meat.
8) 1/2 Cup Almond Milk ( optional )
9) 1 Tsp of Crushed Black Pepper
10) 1Tbsp of Olive Oil
11) 150 Gms of Chicken Mince. Omit this if you want a Vegeterian , Vegan.
12) 5-6 Cloves of Garlic. I love garlic so use lots if it. You can reduce the amount according to your taste.
13) Salt to taste


GET COOKING WITH ME IN EASY STEPS :

STEP 1:

Boil water in a pan. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add the Almonds and leave it in there for a few minutes. Scoop out the Almonds from the pan, cool and remove the brown coloured skin by simply pushing it out using your fingers from bottom to top. Keep aside the peeled Almonds in a bowl.



STEP 2:
In a deep bottom pan take water to completely immerse the Elbow Macaroni, add 1 tsp of olive oil and bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta now and let it cook. Test from time to time to see if it's cooked. You don't want to overcook your Macaroni, so take care to check back. Once cooked strain the water out in a bowl and keep aside the macaroni. Do not throw the water right now as you may need to use it to add some liquid in the final stages of cooking your dish.




STEP 3:
To Blanche the Spinach and Peas get water to boil in a pan, while getting Ice Cold water in a bowl and keeping it ready at close quarters. Wash the Spinach throughly and then plunge them into the boiling water for a couple of seconds. Drain the water using a strainer and immediately without wasting any time take the spinach and put it in the ice cold water. The ice cold water will stop the Spinach from cooking and maintain its crunch and colour. Repeat the process with the green peas. I used frozen peas therefore only defrosted them and did not need to blanche them. In a food processor combine the spinach, peas, almonds and basil leaves and purée them into a smooth silky paste.





STEP 4:
Crush the Garlic using Mortar and pestle. In a non - stick pan take olive oil and sauté the crushed garlic till it is devoid of its raw smell. Do not over sauté as we do not want briwn or burnt garlic in our dish. Add the minced chicken and sauté till the chicken not only changes colour but is fully cooked. Vegetarians can avoid this and can go directly to STEP 5 after sautéing the garlic as desired.




STEP 5:
In a food processor pulse the carrot and mushrooms a couple of times so that they are chopped to really small and fine pieces. Add to the sautéed garlic or cooked chicken as the case may be. Sauté till the mushrooms cook which will take only a few minutes as the mushrooms are chopped to very small and fine pieces. Add crushed black pepper corn and mix well.





STEP 6:
Add the spinach, basil, peas and almonds purée to the pan, mix well and let them all cook absorbing flavours from each other. You can add some almond milk or the water in which the pasta was cooked now, as you may like, if you feel your sauce is too thick. Season the sauce with salt.




STEP 7:
Add in the cooked Elbow Macaroni into the deliciously healthy Green Pasta Sauce and coat them nicely with the Green sauce. After a few minutes of mixing your pasta is ready to serve.



Serve with chilli oil and dried herbs like oregano thyme etc.



INGREDIENTS :

1) 400 Gms. Of Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni
2) 100 Gms Bag of Baby Spinach. I used fresh normal Spinach from my kitchen garden.
3) 140 Gms of Fresh or Frozen peas. If fresh Blanche the peas. If frozen defrost them. I have used frozen peas.
4) 3-4 sprigs of Basil, leaves picked and a few reserved to serve
5) 15-20 Raw Almonds
6) 1 Small Carrot roughly chopped. Increase the quantity to 2 Small carrots if you are not using meat.
7) 5-6 Button Mushrooms. Increase to 9-10 mushrooms if you are not using meat.
8) 1/2 Cup Almond Milk ( optional )
9) 1 Tsp of Crushed Black Pepper
10) 1Tbsp of Olive Oil
11) 150 Gms of Chicken Mince. Omit this if you want a Vegeterian , Vegan Dish
12) 5-6 Cloves of Garlic. I love garlic so use lots if it. You can reduce the amount according to your taste.
13) Salt to taste

GET COOKING WITH ME IN EASY STEPS :

STEP 1:
Boil water in a pan. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add the Almonds and leave it in there for a few minutes. Scoop out the Almonds from the pan, cool and remove the brown coloured skin by simply pushing it out using your fingers from bottom to top. Keep aside the peeled Almonds in a bowl.

STEP 2:
In a deep bottom pan take water to completely immerse the Elbow Macaroni, add 1 tsp of olive oil and bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta now and let it cook. Test from time to time to see if it's cooked. You don't want to overcook your Macaroni, so take care to check back. Once cooked strain the water out in a bowl and keep aside the macaroni. Do not throw the water right now as you may need to use it to add some liquid in the final stages of cooking your dish.

STEP 3:
To Blanche the Spinach and Peas get water to boil in a pan, while getting Ice Cold water in a bowl and keeping it ready at close quarters. Wash the Spinach throughly and then plunge them into the boiling water for a couple of seconds. Drain the water using a strainer and immediately without wasting any time take the spinach and put it in the ice cold water. The ice cold water will stop the Spinach from cooking and maintain its crunch and colour. Repeat the process with the green peas. I used frozen peas therefore only defrosted them and did not need to blanche them. In a food processor combine the spinach, peas, almonds and basil leaves and purée them into a smooth silky paste.

STEP 4:
Crush the Garlic using Mortar and pestle. In a non - stick pan take olive oil and sauté the crushed garlic till it is devoid of its raw smell. Do not over sauté as we do not want briwn or burnt garlic in our dish. Add the minced chicken and sauté till the chicken not only changes colour but is fully cooked. Vegetarians can avoid this and can go directly to STEP 5 after sautéing the garlic as desired.

STEP 5:
In a food processor pulse the carrot and mushrooms a couple of times so that they are chopped to really small and fine pieces. Add to the sautéed garlic or cooked chicken as the case may be. Sauté till the mushrooms cook which will take only a few minutes as the mushrooms are chopped to very small and fine pieces. Add crushed black pepper corn and mix well.

STEP 6:
Add the spinach, basil, peas and almonds purée to the pan, mix well and let them all cook absorbing flavours from each other. You can add some almond milk or the water in which the pasta was cooked now, as you may like, if you feel your sauce is too thick. Season the sauce with salt.

STEP 7:
Add in the cooked Elbow Macaroni into the deliciously healthy Green Pasta Sauce and coat them nicely with the Green sauce. After a few minutes of mixing your pasta is ready to serve.

Serve with chilli oil and dried herbs like oregano thyme etc.



CHECK LIST :


1) WHOLE WHEAT ELBOW MACARONI, 2) SPINACH, 3) GREEN PEAS, 4) FRESH BASIL LEAVES, 5) RAW ALMONDS, 6) CARROT, 7) BUTTON MUSHROOMS, 8) ALMOND MILK (OPTIONAL), 9) BLACK PEPPER CORNS, 10) OLIVE OIL, 11) CHICKEN MINCE (NOT FOR VEGETERIAN)


Reference : HEALTHY EATING