Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ever the Twain Shall Meet

Apologies to Rudyard Kipling, but this is Pepper Paneer Pasta! Does the alliteration set your teeth on edge? Or is it the combination that’s doing it? Are you thinking, ‘Oh, no! unholy combination, I’d rather go somewhere else?’ Are your fingers snaking towards the next link on a self-rescue mission?

I would probably feel the same way too, if I were to see this elsewhere. But as it happens, it’s my blog, my copy of Tarla Dalal’s Microwave Subzis, an unhealthy overdose of salt (my doing) plus a birthday gift of organic wholewheat pasta that inspired this dish. And the ingredient that gave me the notion this paneer/cottage cheese dish could be added to pasta was the Spouse, who said the cream and pepper in it reminded him of pasta.

The photo is all white and brown and singularly unattractive, but believe me, the paneer and the pasta combine well!

The cream in my pantry was fast approaching its best-by date and after the bread pudding, this was one more dish that offered me a route to its (the cream’s) salvation. And when I saw this book in the store, I had to buy it. Not only was it reasonably priced, it had several illustrations. And in the heat of the Indian summer, the promise of quick cooking in my small and hot kitchen, made all the more difficult by windows closed to prevent the visit of an unfriendly rodent, was a Godsend! (If you’re wondering why couldn’t she open the windows as she began cooking and close them when she finished, it’s because I’ve to climb on to the kitchen ledge, open the mosquito netting the rat/mouse bit into, open the windows, descend, cook, then climb back up, close windows, stick netting back in place, and climb down – that’s too much hassle and too many calories more than I can afford to lose - yeah, right!)

Now that my post is long and chatty enough, let’s cut to the chase. Here’s how I made the Pepper Paneer – the measures are mine, not the author’s.

What you need:
200 gm paneer/cottage cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
6 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp milk
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste

Grind to a coarse paste:
½ cup chopped onion
9-10 cashewnuts
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp peppercorns

Combine the oil and the paste in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave on High for two minutes.

Add the cream, milk and salt, mix well and microwave on High for 30 seconds.

Add the paneer, mix well and microwave on High for 1 minute.

Taste at this stage. If it’s fine, you can stop there and eat it with rotis or naans or whatever. If it’s too salty, one of the options is to mix it with pasta and not waste it, like I did.

For the pasta:
Add two handfuls of wholewheat maccheroni rigati to 2 cups of boiling water. Boil for 9 minutes, drain, lubricate with a splash of edible oil if you like (not necessary) and immediately toss with pepper paneer.

Bon appetit!

I'm sending this off to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.


  1. Sra, I love your writing style! The Pepper Paneer Pasta has been added to this week's Presto Pasta Night Roundup. I do hope you join in the fun often.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. sra,looks delicious like Pasta Alfredo.
    I was ok with Paneer which is another kind of cheese like Ricotta or cottage cheese and I was ok with pepper and cream which is goes well with any pasta.

    Although I don't like the taste of whole wheat pasta,that was ok too,garlic sounds great, until.....screeeeechhhh........
    OH! NO!! the dreaded onion-ginger masala!!AHH!!!! AGONY!!!!Why?!!!;D

  3. Ruth, thank you. I hope so too.
    LOL, Asha! You can make pasta with coconut as revenge ;) Not sure whether it was the excess of salt or the microwave, but the individual flavours didn't come through, except for the pepper - now that's great advertising for my cooking skills :(

  4. it's through such experiments that great discoveries are made. this must have tasted really good.

  5. Sra,

    Paneer pasta, during my last visit had Paneer Pizza and thought that was height of fusion and now its pasta. Would love to eat/make this provided its not whole wheat pasta

  6. Sra,

    In between you have a wonderful sense of writing and a great sense of humor, I was instantly attracted to the name of your blog until ofcourse I read the story behind

    Good going girl !!!

  7. Ekdu my type of Pasta. very delicious recipe, Sra.

  8. Ah Sra enjoyed reading your write up. Nail an iron mesh permanently on the window.But then once in a while you will have to climb, to clean the soot though :))
    The paneer pasta combo clicks. I had this in my salad along with vegees bought from a restaurant. Check my site for the recipe under the name Salad Bar. So I know your recipe must be yummy too :)

  9. Bee, yes, it was. And the wholewheat pasta didn't taste bad, either!
    Sreelu, when did you last visit? Fusion food's been on for a while. And our proclivity for spice has us putting tomato sauce on everything, even if it's pristinely bland - no way the Pizza Huts and McDonald's can survive without all that tweaking! Thank you, Sreelu, for the nice words, I'm thrilled!
    Musical, thank you, enjoy!
    Archana, yes, I'm getting a 'Grade 1 stainless steel mesh' put on. Iron rusts, won't it? Will check your blog right away. Thanks.

  10. Looks singularly delicious to me! :)

  11. WAH!!!!!! Nice combo!!!!! Mistakes make great dishes........ :) Lovely write up Sra!! :)

  12. i never tried pasta this way.
    though it seems too yummy and surley gonna try that once i m in charge of my kitchen again . :)
    thanks for sharing

  13. hey u did it, combine the 2 P's that is :) though i thought @ it never dared to mix the two, but now that you say it tasted fine, will give it a try :)
    thanks for the nudge btw

  14. Linda, thanks!
    Coffee, thanks!
    Pooja, nice to see you - when will you get back to blogging?
    Richa, yes, the 2 Ps L0L!

  15. Instead of the gym you should climb up and down your windo Sra. That way we get more of your wonderful food and posts.

    Not a big pasta fan so am not sure whether I will like this. Maybe I should eat more pasta

  16. I wouldn't worry about the alliteration, Sra. Now, if it was PRONTO Pepper Paneer Pasta....
    ; ) Besides, Kipling had his own issues.

    Kidding aside, Italians sauce their pasta with cream and loose cheeses as much as they stuff them with the same ingredients. Looks luscious to me.

  17. sra !!!..great ...panner , pasta and pepper ...great ...thks for sharing ..

  18. lol, Sandeepa! i am a pasta fan but not a big eater myself for various reasons - this just happened!
    Susan, that would have made it a tongue twister as well! welcome to my blog!
    Deepa, thank you for stopping by! Glad you like the recipe.

  19. Wow, a great pasta dish and conveniently utilising some of the ingredients I have left in my fridge! I must give this a go! Great post!

  20. what??? he he he...i really had to check it twice before making sure it was not a typo;) it really is pepper paneer pasta!!!! u can mail me how it really tasted;) he he he...

  21. Freya and Paul, thank you for visiting!
    Sia, ROFL at "you can mail me how it really tasted"
    Laughs apart, deconstructed, it's just cream and pepper and cheese, isn't it, all ingredients that go into pasta the world over! It's not like I'm using devil's dung in pasta, right? Hee hee ;-)

  22. Sra...that was really've got to bend the rules to achieve greatness...bravo!!Keep experimenting...

  23. A very Nice writeup Sra...