I love Italian food! I love eating it, I love cooking it and I even love just looking/staring at it! I love the layers and layers of flavor in it. Its complex but still there's a straightforwardness to it, just like Indian food. You can smell the rich culture through the food. I'm not sure whether what we get here in this part of the world is what real Italian food tastes like but I would love to one day go and eat on the streets of the country where it all started!
I was speaking with my friend the other day who happens to be a pastry chef and has just come back from a dreamy trip to Italy. She was talking about olives and wine and the picture perfect villages of Italy and how life just doesn't get any better than that. Within minutes, I found myself dreaming and nearly transported to Italy.
I couldn't stop thinking about it for days and knew that somehow it would translate to me doing something different in the kitchen. So I decided to make some pasta.
My fridge was not in a very good mood though because I didn't put a lot into it lately so it was not cooperative. I couldn't find anything interesting and I sort of gave up on the idea and that's when I found some pumpkin seeds in the pantry. Now are pumpkin seeds in a pasta unusual? I don't know. But do they play well together? Definitely! I made a Pasta in creamy tomato sauce with pumpkin seeds in it. It was creamy and decadent and quick.
Here's how I made it:
1 pound pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti)
1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
2 medium size tomatoes
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup half & half (I wanted to make it rich for my little one so I used half n half but for the figure conscious, normal milk can be used just as well)
1 tbsp flour (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
Boil a pot of water. Throw in salt (about 2 tbsp) and olive oil (about 1 tbsp) and then the pasta. Let it cook until al dante.
In the meantime pour 1 tbsp olive in a pan and add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Turn on the heat to medium. Wait for the garlic to slowly turn light golden.
Puree the tomatoes and pumpkin seeds in a blender making a nice smooth paste. Add the puree into the pan when garlic is golden.
Stir occasionally. Let it simmer until all the liquid from the tomato is gone.
Now add half n half and let it simmer. (If you are using milk then after adding it let it simmer as well and then add a tbsp of flour and whisk thoroughly so that there are no lumps formed.)
Once the sauce is thick enough according to your choice, turn off the heat. Mix it together with the pasta.
Garnish it with some chopped parsley and if you want then some shaved Parmesan cheese on top.