Minestrone Soup

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National Soup of Italy, Minestrone is a thick soup made from tomatoes,onions,vegetables usually topped with pasta or boiled Rice. Classical soup has a fixed recipe but modernism led to use of the available seasonal ingredients, Every continental menu features this soup as an appetite to be relished and a healthy option to take.Non Vegetarian version is also made using chicken stock as a base or any other meat broth. 1/3rd part is vegetables and rest 2/3rd is Liquid.

Portion : 4
Type : SOUP

INGREDIENTS:
– 1+1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
– 2 Medium Diced Onions
– 6-8 Chopped Garlic cloves
– 200 Gm Tomato Concasse
– 1 Liter Vegetable Stock
– 1 Small Diced Carrot
– 30 Gram French Beans/ Green Peas
– 2 chopped celery Stalks
–  1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
– 2-3 Gm Fresh Basil
– Salt as per Taste
– 1 Tsp Black pepper
–  20 Gm Parmesan Cheese

Procedure:
– Heat Olive Oil on Medium Flame, Add diced onions and cook till Translucent, Add chopped Garlic and cook for 30 sec.
– Add Carrots , celery stalks ,green Peas. Cook for a while and add tomato concasse to it.
– Add veg Stock and Bring it to Boil. Low the flame and simmer it for around 10-12 minutes.
-Add macaroni and simmer until it softens and all the ingredients gets cooked.
– Adjust the seasoning( salt, pepper,Oregano).
–  Put it in Bowls and Top it with Fresh Basil before Serving.

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Cheese Garlic Dip

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This cheesy dip goes well with fried as well as non fried food, so pick your finger food and dip it in this cheesy garlic sauce of dipping consistency to enhance the appetite of your meal.It is so simple that anyone can make it.

Time:  10 Min
Course: Sides (Dips)

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INGREDIENTS:
– 1/2 cup grated mozzarella Cheese
– 2 Tsp Finely chopped Garlic
– 2 Tbsp fresh Cream
– Salt as per taste
– 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

PROCEDURE:
– Blend Cheese and  cream in a food processor,you can also add very little water to adjust the consistency
– Mix in Chopped Garlic, salt and pepper
– Dip is ready

If you Don’t have a food Processor-
– Cream cheese using a spoon or spatula, add cream,salt, pepper and mix them well such that cream and cheese are not separated, they should mix together

This Dip Can Be accompanied with Baked Potato wedges. For recipe  CLICK HERE

Popular cheeses with Classification

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cheese is a food product derived from milk by the coagulation of proteins present in the milk.There is no evident history from where the cheese came into origin but now it is one of the most indispensable food item in the culinary world.There are thousands of cheeses present, made by different processes and ingredients but we will discuss some of the most common and epic cheeses in culinary history. These cheeses are classified according to their texture and hardness.

FRESH CHEESE:   

These are the freshly prepared cheeses which are not aged or aged for a very short period of time. The moisture content is around 80% resulting in a very wet texture.

1 Feta: Extremely popular in Greece it is a fresh cheese which is made from Sheep’s Milk. It is very salty and little sweet in Taste which is very widely used in salads and as a cheese garnish for various dishes

2. Mascarpone: it is a very popular Italian spreadable cheese which is widely used in making deserts. it is made from the coagulation of cream by addition of some acidic or citric substance. It  has a creamy taste and consistency.

3. Ricotta:  Originated in Italy , made from sheep milk whey left over, Ricotta is very widely used in Italian dishes such as cannoli , Lasagne and various baked items. It is also eaten by adding condiments such as strawberries, sugar, cinnamon and chocolate. It can be used as a substitute of Mayonnaise for Italian Tuna Salad.

4. Cottage:  Widely used in all the dishes of India, this cheese is made from Milk which is not processed. It can have a very soft as well as a little firm texture with a very  mild flavor.

SOFT CHEESE: 

With water content of 50-70 % these are the soft cheeses which are generally aged for a very short period of time.

1. Brie:  Also known as The Queen of Cheeses, It is an extremely popular creation of France. Made from Cow’s milk it is slightly pale yellow in color. It is eaten whole, sometimes served slightly baked or melted, topped with Nuts

2. Goat  it is made by naturally allowing goat milk to curdle which is further drained and processed. it is know for its choky aftertaste and lemony flavor. The best quality goat cheese comes from France. sometimes it is flavored with herbs and Garlic.

3. Blue Cheese:  Ranked among one of the best cheese in the world,Blue cheeses is a spotted or veined cheese due to the addition of Pencillium. It is aged in temprature controlled areas such as caves. it can be eaten by its own or crumbled over dishes.

SEMI SOFT :

The texture is neither much soft nor much hard.

Mozarella: Italian cheese made from buffalo milk, mozarella is the cheese used in making pizza. it has high moisture content and a very cheesy flavour.

SEMI HARD:

With moisture content up to 30-40 % they are hard but not very Hard.

1. Gouda: It is a dutch yellow cheese which comes from Netherlands. It is famous for its Tangy flavour, mostly accompanied with wines. it is Aged from 2 to 12 months. The more it is aged the more strong will be its flavor.

2. cheddar: It is one of the most popular cheese which came into origin during 19th century in England. It has a pungent and earthy flavor which gets quite sharp sometimes. It is orangish yellow in color

HARD:

They contain moisture nearly about 25-30% and are aged the Longest.

1. Pecorino: A hard italian cheese made from ewe’s milk .It is one of the most expensive one and  preffered for Pasta dishes and as a dressing in various dishes.it is a traditional cheese which is aged for about an year

2. Gruyere: It is one of the best quality cheese which comes from Switzerland.Awarded as best International cheese for 4 times, It has a strong sweet and salty taste. it is considered one of the best for baking.it is made from cows milk and generally aged for 6-12 months

3. Parmesan: Also known as Parmigiano Reggiano, it is the most widely used cheese among the globe, comes from Italy it is a well known cheeses due to its nutty cheesy flavor which is obtained by ageing it for almost 2-3 years. It is used in almost all the pasta dishes and it is the most common Italian Garnish

 

 

How to make Perfect Sauces

A Sauce is an integral part of a dish, makes a dish more Palable, appetizing,appealing and more tasty. A sauce adds on more moisture and color to the dish making it complete. All the well planned  dishes includes  sauce as an accompaniment or main item . It is very important to make a good combination of food and sauce to make it a perfect gourmet , but if the sauce is not good it can make the dish a “No Show”,so a sauce must be perfect o go on with a perfect dish. Here are some points to keep in mind while making a Perfect sauce.

Proper Utensils– It is very important to choose appropriate kitchen utensils and equipments while making a sauce

  • Never use a brass container for making or storing a sauce as it will make its taste off.
  • Always Use  wooden spatula for making Tomato sauce as acidity in tomato will react with metal.
  • Use a good Quality Stainless steal whisk for White sauce
  • Store your Sauces in Stainless steel containers.

Consistency: consistency is a major factor which determines the appetite of a sauce

  • A good sauce must have a consistency such that it could full cover the back of a Spoon when dipped.
  • It should not be excess dilute or excess thick.
  • A good thickening agent must be used which goes well with the sauce e.g Roux, Laison etc.
  • It is important to cook the sauce properly( min 10-15 min depending on the quantity) after adding a thickening agent so that the starch gets cooked .
  • You can also  add 2 Tbsp of Butter ( for 100 ml) at the end to give it a shine and smooth consistency.

Sieve the Sauce- 
-it is very important to sieve a sauce using a sieve at the end to make it more smooth and lumps free.
– if it is not Sieved small lumps will be left in the sauce.

Seasoning the Sauce: salt and pepper are basic seasonings for every sauce.

  • Always end the seasoning once the sauce is done because when the sauce is reduced on heat the seasonings become more concentrated.
  • Use white and Black pepper according to the sauce color e.g White pepper for Bechamel

Storage: sauces can be stored for weeks in refrigerator.

  • If storing hot sauces for a long time do heat the them after 2-3 days and refrigerate again to prevent growth of microorganisms .

 

 

Pasta in Bechamel Sauce

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Italian Penne Pasta made with creamy white sauce with Italian Seasoning.

TIME: 20 MIN
CUISINE: ITALIAN
SERVES: 02

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ACTUAL AMOUNT REQUIRED

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED:
– 150 gm Pasta
– 300 ml Milk
– 1 Tbsp Flour
– 1 Tbsp Butter
– 1/2 Tbsp Salt
– Half Onion
– 1 Bay Leaf
– 2 Cloves
– Oregano (optional)

PROCEDURE:

  • Boil Pasta in Hot water to ALA-DANTE ( biting consistency)
  • Make Bechamel Sauce for the Pasta. For recipe of Bechamel Sauce CLICK HERE
  • After Making The sauce.Add the Pasta to a Pan with little olive oil and put sauce over it.

  • Cook it for further 3-4 minutes

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  • Add Oregano, Chilli Flakes and serve hot with Bread

To Know How To Boil Pasta Perfectly : CLICK HERE

How to make Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel Sauce is one out of the six mother Sauces of French Cuisine. Originated in Italy It is a thick white sauce made from white Roux and Milk. It is a base for various other sauces such as Mornay( bechamel with Cheese),Cardinal(bechamel with onion Puree).This sauce has a creamy taste and used in various dishes such as Cauliflower Mornay, Lasagne etc. A perfect Bechamel is clear white in color having a thick consistency and a creamy flavor.

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED FOR SAUCE:

  • 300 ml Milk
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp Flour
  • Half Onion
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 Tbsp Salt

PROCEDURE:

1. Add Milk to a Pan and put it on flame. Wrap a Bay Leaf Over a half of Onion using 2 Cloves and Put it in the milk.Heat this till it becomes little hot (60-65°C)

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  1. Take another Pan and put it on Flame. Add Butter, Flour and saute it for 30-4o Sec to make white Roux.
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3- Add the hot Milk(removing the onion) in the Pan with Roux on medium flame and continuously whisk it so that it does not form any Lumbs

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Once It obtains a thick Sauce consistency, add salt to it and the final mixture obtained is
Bechamel Sauce.

Stuffed Rava Idli (semolina Cakes)

Stuffed Idli

Idli is an all time favorite savoury  snack of south India usually made from fermented rice batter served with Sambar ( Spicy Indian Stew) and coconut chutney as an accompaniment  traditionally served on banana Leaf.it was originated in south india but now it is famous in all parts of the country.This time this snack is going to be totally different. Due to a very long time taken by the batter to ferment, i thought for a instant version of idli using semolina and rising agent and making it more appetizing by stuffing it with chopped vegetables tossed in Pasta sauce and cheese.It is an instant recipe which hardly takes 20 minutes.Though it is not traditional but it is anyways as tasty as the traditional rice Idli.

Time Needed: 15-20 Min
No. of Portions : 2

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Actual amount of ingredients for both batter and stuffing

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED:  (FOR BATTER)
– 100 Gm Semolina (Rava)
– 100 Gm yogurt
– 30-40 ml  Refined oil ( any)
– 1 Tbsp ENO/ 1/2 tbsp Baking soda
–  2 Tbsp Salt
FOR STUFFING:
– 150 Gm finely chopped onions+bell peppers + mushroom
–  10 Gm Peas
-2 Tsp Pasta Sauce
– 30  Processed/ Mozzarella (Grated)
– 10 ml oil

PROCEDURE:

First Step – Making Batter

  • Add yogurt, Semolina and oil in a bowl and mix them Together with a little amount of water (if required) to obtain the Consistency as shown below

 

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Consistency Required

Make sure you do not add ENO/Baking soda at this stage

STEP 2 – Make Stuffing  

  • Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan, Add vegetables and saute them until all the released  moisture gets removed then add pasta sauce to  it and cook it for  min. Add salt (if required). The final product will be as shown below

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STEP 3- Make Idli 

  • Add ENO/Baking soda in the batter, mix it and immediately put it into IDLI moulds.

-Fill Half of each mould  add 1 Tbsp stuffing in each.

-Add 5-6 gm grated cheese after stuffing.
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Once the chesse is grated on it , Again add little batter and  fill the moulds to 90%( with batter) . Do not fill it completely as it will rise up after cooking.

-Steam the idlis in a steamer for 10-12 minutes or  till a tooth pick inserted in the idlis come out clean.

-Demould the Idlis and it is ready to come on plate.

DISCLAIMER: you can also use a Microwave just cook it in microwave for 5-6 Min on normal mode.
-Make sure that you add baking soda or eno just before putting it into  moulds and once it is done steam them immediately otherwise they won’t rise up.
-you can also add the cheese in the stuffing after adding the sauce.