Penne Tikka Masala with Peas and Cashews
Whether you're already a fan of Indian food or whether you are just foraying into the world of this exotic cuisine, I have the perfect recipe for you. Fusing pasta with the flavours of India, this is comfort food in a bowl -- with a twist. And it's completely vegetarian, too, so whether you're a veg-head yourself or whether you are feeding a crowd that includes vegetarians, this is a great option.
Note: I can't reprint the whole recipe here, but I will give you gist. for the full experience, you'll have to purchase the book, Toss Your Own Salad by Eddie McNamara. It's full of not only awesome vegetarian recipes but also the kind of no-nonsense, ascerbic wit you'd expect from a former Port Authority police officer.
Here's the basic recipe:
Start by sauteing onions and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of butter. Says the author in his signature warm-and-fuzzy way: "Don't burn the damn garlic."
Assuming you have heeded the warning and haven't burned the garlic, you can move on to the next step. Here, you'll add tomato paste, spices such as garam masala, and some honey into the mix, and cook for a few minutes. "If your kitchen doesn't smell amazing, you're doing something wrong," McNamara says. (No worries here; my house smelled intoxicatingly good at this point. Even my husband, who usually doesn't like Indian food at ALL, came home and said, "That smells good!" I"d say that's a win right there.
Moving on with the recipe, now is the time to add in tomato puree, green peas, cream, and water. Cook for 20 minutes once it comes to a high simmer. Once it gets nice and thick and unctuous (how's that for a fancy word?). Taste the mixture and adjust the salt if necessary.
At this point, you'll stir in cashews. Don't skip this step! It offers the finished dish a heartiness and texture that is just perfect. While this is happening, cook and drain the pasta. Mix the pasta with the sauce, garnish with cilantro and serve to the grateful and hungry masses.
(Sorry for the blurry photo....I was stirring while snapping to feed the hungry masses faster!)
This was delicious! Not too spicy, and my 9-year-old gobbled it up! For this and many more awesome vegetarian-friendly recipes, pick up a copy of Toss Your Own Salad today. Other things I plan to try from this book include the Peanut Butter Hummus (how can that NOT be good?) and Elka's Lentil and Rice Veggie Burger, among others.
If you like your recipes interesting, made with fresh ingredients, and served with a side of tell-it-like it is, you're going to need to add this book to your collection.