SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY PESTO

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INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts/ Brazil Nuts / Almonds
3-5 Cups Basil Leaves
4-5 Cubes Ice
1/4 Cup Mix Nuts (Walnuts, Cashew, Almond)
15 Garlic Cloves
3 Cups Milk
250 Grams Cheese
1 Tsp Sugar
3 Tomatoes / 10 Cherry Tomatoes (Optional)
1 Packet Spaghetti Pasta (500 Grams)
Hot Water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Chilli Flakes (Optional)
Chilli / Garlic Oil (Optional)
Grated Cheese (Optional)
Salt to taste

METHOD:

  • Discard hard stem and dark leaves of Basil if any and wash them really well.
  • Boil water in a deep pan. Switch off flame and drop the leaves to blanch for 10-15 seconds, until they wilt.
  • Drain the water on a metal colander. You can reserve the basil water for later use. Immediately, place ice cubes over and under the blanched leaves. You can also pour ice-cold water instead. Keep aside to cool off.
  • Discard any ice and add the Basil Leaves along with peeled Garlic, Mix Nuts and Salt and grind it for a minute. For the nuts, add whatever is available. You can also skip this if you don’t have any or are allergic. Gradually add little water and grind into a thick paste. I used the same water that was leftover after blanching basil leaves. Any leftover water can be used as a stock or to water plants once it cools down.
  • In a largest wok or deep and wide pan that you have, heat oil.
  • Add Pine Nuts if you have them. I used chopped Brazil Nuts this time since they were available at home. I otherwise use chopped Almonds. Roast for a few seconds until they turn a shade darker. Switch off the flame.
  • Now add the Green Pesto paste you ground up and mix well. Since it’s blanched already, you don’t need to cook it.
  • Also add in a little Sugar.
  • Add grated Cheese and milk according to the taste and consistency you prefer. If grating cheese seems like a boring process, you can roughly chop the Cheese block into tiny pieces. Drop them in a microwave safe bowl. Add a little milk and microwave for 2 minutes. The cheese will soften and eventually melt completely when you mix this with the pesto. You can use any type of Cheese. I’ve also used Cheese Spread, Parmesan and Gouda Cheese at times. This time I used Processed Cheese.
  • Add Cherry Tomatoes halved. I used regular Tomatoes chopped into big pieces. Switch the flame back on and cook for 2 minutes while stirring continuously. You can skip Tomatoes. I’ve made with and without a lot of times.
  • You can add Chilli flakes and you might want to add Salt as well.
  • Boil Spaghetti Pasta in hot water with a little salt as per the packet instructions. It took me about 15 minutes though the packet mentioned 9 minutes. I boiled them in 2 separate pans since the quantity was a lot compared to the size of the pans I had. Once cooked al denté, drain them in a colander and add this to the Pesto sauce.
  • If not using immediately, run cold water over the cooked Pasta, drizzle oil, mix well and keep aside. I generally start boiling the Spaghetti or any noodle or pasta 30 minutes before serving. I prepare the sauce earlier in the day. I do this so that I don’t have to reheat.
  • Serve in a plate or bowl. Top with grated Cheese & drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Chilli Garlic Oil. Olive oil just brings out the flavour so well!
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Fresh vibrant Basil Leaves
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Blanched Leaves
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Using Ice to cool the leaves down & retain it’s colour
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The most boring part of this recipe haha
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Brazil Nuts I had in stock, being used as a replacement to Pine Nuts. You can also use Almonds.
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Olive oil roasted Brazil Nuts.
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Thick Pesto
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Thick Smooth Paste after adding Milk & Cheese. Spot the Tomatoes too?
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Big Pieces of Tomatoes
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Take a wider pan to boil these. I had to divide these with another pan, mid way while boiling these. Silly me!
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500 grams cooked al dente
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Creamy Pesto
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Drizzle with Olive & Chilli Garlic Oil
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Happy Plate
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Well coated in Pesto
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Pesto Sauce
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So creamy
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No Tomatoes
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Garnished with Gouda Cheese
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Colour retained!
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Grated Processed Cheese
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When I had a lot of Basil Leaves 😀
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Such colour!
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Grate or use any type of Cheese
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Roasted Almonds as a substitute to Pine Nuts
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Cheese Spread & Milk
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Pesto Pesto
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Cheese melting with Milk

Cauliflower Crust Pan Pizza!

It may be necessary for some, but I really don’t believe in following measurements. I just add according to what feels right in terms of texture and consistency. Also constant tasting after ever step helps you know how you are progressing with the recipe. You can always go a little here and there with the ingredients to suit your taste buds. That shouldn’t be a problem. A little common sense is required especially when using spices and salt! If you are trying something new, try with a lesser quantity so that even if you fail, you’ll always have another chance at doing something better than your first attempt. So don’t stress. Cooking is fun!

I love colorful food and try to use a lot of vegetables. It not only looks beautiful, but it is highly nutritious too.

So here’s what I experimented the other day at home. It’s a Pizza that tastes amazing; looks gorgeous and your tummy will thank you for the healthy treat!

Do try it out and comment below on what’s your take on it. If you’ve tried your very own twist, post your versions here and I’d love to try those out too! So here goes the recipe for today…

Cauliflower Crust Tava Pizza!

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Ingredients (Pizza Base)

  • Boiled Cauliflower – A quarter approx.
  • Boiled & Peeled Potatoes – A Medium Sized approx.
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese – A small slice is what I used. You can add more.
  • Amul Garlic & Herbs Butter – A small slice again.
  • All purpose Flour – 1 Tbsp approx. You can avoid this or replace with any Gluten Free flour like Almond flour.
  • Egg – 1 whole egg. You can avoid this too if you are a pure vegetarian or add some Chia seeds mixed with water after it thickens .
  • Salt – As per your taste.

Ingredients (Pizza Sauce)

  • Onion – 1 small onion to medium, roughly sliced.
  • Garlic Cloves – 3 or 4 is fine.
  • Dried Chilli or Chilli Flakes – Just 1/4th 
  • Tomato Ketchup – 3 Tbsp or you can add Tomato Puree
  • Butter – Very little.
  • Salt – As per your taste.

Ingredients (Toppings)

  • Tomatoes – 1 should be enough.
  • Baby corn – 2 to 4.
  • Bell Peppers – Quarter of yellow, red and/or green.
  • Jalapeños – I used 5 sliced homemade pickled Jalapeños.
  • Pepper Corns – Around 5 crushed/powdered.
  • Oil/Butter &  Oregano – Very little to Sauté & for taste. Or you can use Amul Garlic Herbs Butter.
  • Salt – As per your taste.
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Method: (Start With The Base)

  • Take a deep bowl and add all the ingredients – Cauliflower, Potato, All Purpose Flour, Whole Egg, Amul Garlic & Herbs Butter, Grated Cheese and Salt. If you do not have the herbs butter, you can add oregano and sautéed garlic to the mixture.
  • Mash all the ingredients so that all of them get blended really well. You need not necessarily make this into a smooth paste. The consistency should be that of a paste. If you feel the mixture is dry, then add a little milk cream or water. If the mixture is watery, then add a little more flour to thicken the mixture.
  • Take a non-stick tava (pan) and grease it with the Amul garlic & herbs butter.
  • Pour the mixture and spread it evenly on the tava.
  • The texture should look somewhat like this :
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  • If you want the base to be on the crispier side, apply a thin layer on the pan. I poured the entire mixture to create a thick base that’s soft and creamy.
  • Place the pan on the gas on a medium flame and let it cook well. It will easily come off from the pan and when it’s a light brown shade, flip over. You can take a plate and slide it on the plate from the tava and then flip the plate over on the pan to avoid breaking the base.
  • It will look like this, once it is cooked well on both sides. Switch off the flame and keep aside in the same pan. We need this later after the toppings come in. You can also eat it like that because it tastes good too!
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Method: (The Pizza Sauce)

  • In another non-stick pan, add butter and once it is hot, sliced onions, Sauté till light brown.
  • Add whole garlic cloves, dried chilli or chilli flakes and switch off the gas once you get a mild fragrance from the garlic.
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  • Let it cool and then transfer it in a grinder.
  • Add salt and tomato ketchup. You can use fresh tomato puree as well. I used a Tomato ketchup that already had onion and garlic. So it tasted better.
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  • Blend all the ingredients in the mixer and spread the sauce over the pizza base evenly.
  • Here’s what it looked like on my pizza base:
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Method: (Toppings)

  • In the same pan, add a little butter if required.
  • Add to this, the cut vegetables – Tomatoes & Baby Corn. Add Bell Peppers. You can add Chicken, Paneer (Cottage Cheese) & Mushrooms too if you want more taste.
  • Add pickled Jalapeños and sauté for sometime till everything is cooked through.
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  • Add salt & herbs to taste.
  • Get the pizza base that has been spread with pizza sauce.
  • Equally distribute the sautéed vegetables on top of the base covering it completely.
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  • Sprinkle Pepper powder.
  • Switch on the gas and again heat it on medium flame to warm it.
  • Last but not the least, grate some cheese over the pizza.
  • Take it off the gas, slice it in equal portions and serve.
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