Italian Cuisine.

Spaghetti with Asparagus & Zucchini drizzled with Basil Pesto Sauce.

Spaghetti with Roasted asparagus & zucchini with basil pesto creamy sauce.
Spaghetti with Roasted asparagus & zucchini with basil pesto creamy sauce.

As part of the weekend Italian dinner, I made my husband this delicious Spaghetti with roasted zucchini and asparagus drizzled wih the 2 minute basil pesto sauce. I am always cooking with zucchini as its rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which are very important for healthy vision. Zucchini is also very high in water content like cucumbers so its makes an ideal vegetable for people who want to watch their waistline. It is rich in vitamin C so there  you have a vegetable that’s packed in goodness.

The Asparagus is such a small lithe vegetable but you would be amazed at how much protein and richness  packed in this one. This vegetable is packed in FOLATE so its a rich source of folic acid, which would definitely help pregnant women. Its rich in Vitmain C, Vitamin K and has anti-inflammatory properties. Its also a natural detoxifier so pack on the asparagus people!!!

Choose asparagus with tightly closed tips, supple ends and firm stalks that dont bend. I dont store it for too long in the refridgerator. The ends have to be discarded but the tips are used for cooking.  Did you know that three seasons pass before the asparagus can be harvested?


A cup of prepared Basil Pesto Sauce.dsc00481

A bunch of asparagus stalks.

1-2 zucchini diced in to big 1 inch pieces.

Lemon Zest.

1/2 box of Heartland Multigrain Omega 3 Spaghetti.

1 tsp Dried Oregano

1 tsp Dried Basil.

Salt & Pepper to taste.


  • Bring a pot of boiling water to boil add a spoon of salt and immerse the pasta in the same.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or according to the instructions on the package. Switch off and drain but save a small cup of the salter pasta water.
  • Simultaneously take a tray and grease the bottom with oil spray and toss the diced zucchini and chopped asparagus stalks. Season with salt, pepper, dried oregano and dried basil. Sprinkle with olive oil and top with zest from one lemon.
Roasted Veggies...
Roasted Veggies...
  • Preheat the oven to 400F and roast the veggies for 10 minutes till they get a little soft.
  • Take the serving bowl, add the hot spaghetti first, top with roasted veggies, drizzle the basil pesto sauce slightly diluted with the pasta water and garnish with park skim mozzarella cheese.
  • Serve Hot!
Italian Cuisine.

Penne Pasta & Roasted Vegetables in Quick White Sauce.

Penne Pasta with veggies in white sauce.
Penne Pasta with veggies in white sauce.

My forays in to italian cooking are definitely inspired by Giada Laurentis of foodtv fame, but I have my own methods and madness of cooking up a storm here. I always like to start with a lot of veggies as I am always looking at ways to compensate the body`s requirement of fibre, iron etc, that might not form a part of our regular south indian cooking. I dont have a fixed recipe in the mind when I begin, but some how as I chop the vegetables, somewhere in the back of my mind, there are instructions and my hands fluidly follow them…

Today I knew that hubby dear would come home ravenous, and I need to give him a filling dinner with a lot of vegetables. I looked at the vegetables that I had to start my pasta…Yes I did have the Whole Wheat Penne, as I had already tried the angel hair pasta the last time and well, in my opinion penne is a lot more easier to pick wth a fork!!! I would have appreciated butternut squash or my all time favourite – zucchinni, but I had to make do with what I had…Onions, carrots, peppers and hey I had some fresh mushrooms. I still had some leftover Italian flat leaf parsley from two weeks back, which I had saved in a ziploc, rolled tightly in a soft fresh tissue towel. I also felt like using cilantro today, although I knew that was distinctly “Not Italian”!!!

The instructions would definitely “seem” a little winding and long, but its definitely a quick dish to make, once you get a hang of things.Don`t worry about the ingredients – You could make do, even if you have one or two of them missing.


1 pound of Whole Wheat Pasta. ( I used the one with the extra fibredsc002161

1 Onion sliced thin and long.

1 green pepper sliced.

1 carrot sliced thin and long.

12-13 Mushrooms sliced.

Small Bunch of Itlain Parsleychopped. (Optionally use dried parsley)

3 spoons of Part Skim Ricotta Cheese.

2 spoons of Part Skim Cream Cheese.

1 spoon of Light Sour Cream.

1 spoon of dried basil.

1 spoon of dried oregano.

A pinch of nutmeg.

Salt & Pepper.

1 spoon of butter.

Mozzarella Cheese to top.


  • Saute the vegetables and mushroom very lightly for 2 mins in a spoon of butter. This enhances the flavour of the vegetables and the mushroom.  This step is optional and can be omitted.
  • Line a baking sheet with oil spray and add all the sliced veggies and mushrooms. Sprinkle salt and pepper sufficiently and some of the chopped parsley and dried basil.
Veggied with parsley, basil and pepper ready to get roasted.
Veggies with parsley, basil and pepper ready to get roasted.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F and pop it in to the oven to roast for ten  minutes or until the veggies are roasted and soft. Pull out and keep aside.
  • In a wide mouthed container add enough water to allow the pasta to drown and cook for 12 mins or according to the instruction on the pasta container, along with  1 spoon of salt.
  • When its cooked almost 70% drain out the pasta and save one cup of the pasta water.
  • In a cup mix the ricotta cheese, cream cheese and sour cream and add some chopped cilantro and chopped parsley.
  • Into the baking dish containing the roasted veggies, add the hot pasta, dried basil, dried oregano and a pinch of nutmeg  and the cheese mixture.
  • Mix well so the cheese will slowly melt in the heat of the pasta. If you find that its too dry, add 1/2 cup of pasta water and mix the vegetables, the pasta and the cheese sauce.
  • Add more salt or pepper if you deem it necessary.
Mozzarella Cheese sprinkled over the pasta before baking.
Mozzarella Cheese sprinkled over the pasta before baking.
  • Sprinkle part skim grated mozzarella cheese over the pasta and pop it again in the oven covered with a foil sheet  for about 1o minutes at 350F.
  • Bake for another 5 minutes with the foil removed.
  • Serve simmering Hot pasta to your family and enjoy the fragrance of the cheese sauce, herbs and veggies.
Italian Cuisine.

Pasta Sauce….

Many of my friends who try out my italian want to know whats the best pasta sauce that should be used ? Should it be made from scratch? Or should it be store bought? Well, I feel that there is no comparison to making your own pasta sauce from scratch. I love making my own pesto and marinara sauces. But basil is a litte hard to come by in this season. I normally buy a box of fresh organic basil from Trader Joe`s for the best pesto sauce. In times of non-availability, the store bought one should do…

Mezzetta - Napa Valley Bistro - Roasted Arrabita.

These days Walmart stocks a variety of pasta sauces – Emeril, Newman etc. But my favourite is the Mezzetta Naps Valley Bistro`s sauces in my vegetarian flavours – Mediterranenan Olive, Homemade Style Marinara & Roasted Arrabiata. The Pesto sauce from Trader Joe`s is also a personal favourite.

Bon Appetit!!!