The recipe of my first vegetarian pasta... broccoli & mushroom pasta in a cream sauce

Broccoli and mushroom pasta in a white sauce

I cooked possibly the first vegetarian pasta of my life a couple of nights back.

I missed the bacon but it felt good. Pun intended.

Why have I abandoned meat?

I haven't. But I do try to cut down on meat these days as I grow older and doctors look at my test results and shake their heads in disapproval. So I have become more experimental with vegetables. And try to eat less meat. 

What added to the irony of the dish is that I used a steamed broccoli recipe of our meat loving Goan friend, Gia, as the base.

She cooks it in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and butter but she explained to me that it's 'steamed' as she closes the lid of the pan and lets the broccoli cook in its steam and thereby uses a lot less oil than frying would need.

Both K and I have developed a taste for this dish. We often have it as a side with grills these days. 

This time I decided to use it as a base for pasta and added some button mushrooms for good measure.

Turned out pretty satisfactory so I thought I will share the recipe here.

Ingredients in order of appearance (for 2):

  1. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon chilli infused olive oil or 2 tablespoons of oil
  2. 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  3. 1 broccoli chopped
  4. 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper & 1 teaspoon butter
  5. 250 chopped button mushrooms
  6. 1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in a coffee mug of milk
  7. Some dry spices like oregano, rosemary, thyme, less than half a teaspoon
  8. 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  9. 50 g of aged cheddar or parmesan cheese

steam the broccoli first

then add mushrooms

white sauce is step 3 post to which the pasta is added

  1. Heat a table spoon of extra virgin olive oil on a low flame in a pan
  2. Add the chopped garlic and stir till it lightly browns
  3. Add the broccoli. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Add a teaspoon of butter to the pan. Stir. Cover with a lid. Take the lid off every 30 seconds and stir. This will take about 4,5 minutes. We want the broccoli to retain the crunch. You can stop at this point and it will be Gia's steamed broccoli. 
  4. Add the chopped mushroom. Cook on a high heat now as mushroom gives out a lot of water when cooked. Make sure that you don't overcook the mushroom. Don't panic if water comes out as this will flavour the sauce
  5. Add the milk and cornflour mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce the flame and let it simmer so that the milk thickens. This is the white cream sauce
  6. Add a pinch of dry spices (I used a Keya mix which had oregano etc), half a teaspoon of salt, half a tablespoon of chilli infused olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil with some pepper powder, or even split green chillies (sacrilegious but we Indians like our heat). All of this will add flavour to the sauce. You can slip in a cheese slice here (we didn't have any at home)
  7. Add in the boiled pasta and let it cook for about 3,4 minutes in the sauce and you are done
  8. Add in the balsamic vinegar just as you are about to end. It adds a bit of tangy sweetness to the dish
  9. I grated some cheddar on to the pasta after putting it on the plate
Smiled like little Jack Horner while I had my dinner.

My mom in law was with us so I served her some and she looked up and said "photo leedu? (took photo)"

Incidentally K thinks I have cooked a vegetarian pasta before.

Add cheese when on plate and remind self to buy a nicer pasta plate