Quick summer eats: Basil Pesto pasta, salads

"Enjoying your food with a 'morning after smile'....Aren't you becoming our little Nigella Lawson? :P "

Scarlett's comment on my Bungalow 9 post 

Well that did strike me yesterday when I made sudden plans with my friends Soumik & Ratoola to catch up for dinner and watch whatever IPL match was going on. Ratoola made a lovely doi maachh and mustard Okhra dish. And I prepared a couple of things in a jiffy and took them over.

I was a bit fed up with the masala chicken and roti which we had for dinner the previous night at home. It is too hot for this sort of food right now. And I have had it with chicken. I had planned to make a couple of light dishes for dinner to beat the heat in any case. So when our dinner plans were made then I tossed some stuff together in about half an hour, packed them in boxes, and drove off for dinner.

The three of us had a lovely evening chatting over Bangladesh memories, IPL and of course those very funny stories which no one can deliver the way Soumik does.

Well, for whatever its worth I did take a pint of beer with me to get in touch with my masculine side. But then I did raid the fridge at night when I returned for the lovely chocolate liqueur that Lenny made for us.

Here are the recipes. Pretty easy to make.

Fungghi Linguine in Basil pesto.

  • Boil linguine/ spaghetti and chopped button mushroom together. Keep aside
  • Pesto mix. Put the following in a mortar sequentially: 1. 3,4 cloves peeled garlic 2. 7,8 pine nuts 3. A bunch of finely chopped fresh basil 4. 1 tablespoon parmesan 5.  3,4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Pound this at every each step. Or put everything into a food processor and grind
  • Put the pesto mix on the pasta and gently separate the linguine or spaghetti so that the pesto mix gets into the paste. Add some salt
  • Bung this into the microwave for two minutes when you are ready to eat


The trick in salads is to use fresh produce, wash them assiduously with drinking water if you are in India. Avoid cheese, mayo etc as they are fattening and you get great tasting stuff with a lot of other stuff. Use a mix of textures - crunch, squish. Colours - greens, red yellows, white. Dressings and sauces. The idea is to put it together just as you eat so that the spring and bounce is there.

Here's what I used together - purple lettuce leaves, rocket leaves, hung curd (curd put on a strainer the previous night so that the water drains out), some Australian Bush Salts that Kunal gave me (regular salt and pepper otherwise), cherry tomatoes, Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar that Maunika gave me, some Middle Eastern sumac and lemon powder that Gia gave me and some crushed lavash from Sante's ...that's the thing, there are no recipes for salads....just let your imagination go wild ... boiled eggs, canned tuna, cold cuts ...

Jeez, I don't believe I wrote this. Blame Thailand and Australia for my sudden love for salads. Or old age.


Scarlett said…
I'd blame heat for your sudden love for salads. It's too hot for food! And how lucky are you...people gift you such exotic ingredients!!!

And of course when I said you're turning into Nigella, I meant it in a completely different way!!! :D
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Scarlett: food blogger's karma. Got Hot Cross buns yesterday ...

'Turning into Nigella' can be interpreted in many ways. Am curious
yummy, pasta and basil combos are my fav..will try this one out soon!!!
though my list of trying out is becoming longer and longer!!!
Chetna said…
Kalyan !! What r the alternatives that can be put in the Pesto if Parmesan and Pine nuts are not available ?
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Baking Devils: thanks

@Shooting Star: How's the list going?

@Chetna: pine nuts don't have a very strong flavour - even peanuts and almonds or walnuts could do...gives a slight nutty taste

Parmesan is a sharp cheese. Right now I've been using pecorina, another strong cheese that I picked at Australia. Regular Amul, Britannia cheddar would not really work if you ask me ... but there are no hard and fast rules. Best to work with what is available