Given the number of times in a month we eat pasta at home, it is difficult to believe that at one time I actually hated the stuff. Rewind to about 23-24 years ago. A time when macaroni wasn't even easily available in India. I always looked at the bottle on the top shelf that had some small twisted straws. I couldn't reach it. But I'd ask her each time I looked up at it, "Amma, taen kallen?" (Amma, what is that?) And she'd tell me, "Macaroni". "Macaroni mhalar kallen?" (What does Macaroni mean?) And she'd try to explain in the best way she could to a 6 year old. Then one day she made it because I was so enthusiastic about it. And I hated it. I ate it, but almost swore never to touch it again.
Almost, but not quite! Many years later, Amma decided to make the dish again. Macaroni and vegetables in white sauce. Suddenly, the same dish, made quite the same way, was yummy to say the least. I make it very often. I have modified the dish greatly from the time I learnt it. At times, my sauce is so creamy that I don't even bother adding cheese to it.
But the recipe is a keeper. Filling, nutritious and tasty. What more can one ask for in a meal?
1 cup Macaroni (Cooked/Boiled with a little oil and salt)
1 cup Mixed Boiled Vegetables (Carrot, Beans, Peas, Cauliflower, Potato), chopped
1/4 cup Mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup, Mixed Capsicum, chopped
1 tbsp Butter/Olive Oil
1 tbsp Flour
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Basil
1 tsp Chilli flakes
1/2 tsp Garlic Paste
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 slice Low Fat Cheese (optional)
Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the capsicum and fry for a minute. Add the garlic paste, parsley, basil and chilli flakes and fry for another minute. Add the flour and fry without browning the flour. Add the mushrooms and fry for about 30 seconds. (Do not fry the mushrooms for too long as the water in them gets released.) Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. If adding cheese, add it at this point and stir the sauce well. As the sauce thickens, add the salt and pepper. Add the boiled vegetables and the macaroni to the sauce.
If you like, you could transfer this to a baking dish, sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes at 450 F. I go through the trouble only if I am making it at dinner time and can enjoy it with Garlic Bread. This is something S and I have enjoyed at Ten Downing Street. This is my third feature on Eating out while eating in. The earlier ones being Kothu Roti and French Bread Pizza.