Winter is in the breeze..... a refreshing change for us who have been used to a warm/hot/hotter climate all these years. It is our first Delhi/Gurgaon winter. Winter in Delhi as I am soon getting to realize means much more than woollies. For foodies it means an entirely new range of food options to choose from. There is of course the Makki di roti and sarson da saag( much hyped in my opinion though every true blue Punjabi claims I have not sampled the stuff at the right place, read his Mom's cooking) then there are the seasonal vegetables like gobhi, matar, moolis( push cart sellers selling only mooli) that have started making an appearance at every nook and corner. Dry fruits gifted generously to each other during Diwali are consumed through the winter months and so are the gajaks( had some melt in the mouth gajaks at Gopals, a small sweet/fast food shop at Patiala), gud channa, gud badam( chikkis to the rest of the country), rewris etc. Comfort food literally as they supposedly keep you warm.
Now why am I writing all this in a blog titled " Pasta Salad". Well I am not much of a pasta fan( typically find it too heavy, chewy and starchy) but a handful of boiled pasta tossed into a salad adds colour, body and taste. Goes very well with all the tender winter vegetables that have just hit the markets. Now you know why the long preamble.
Here is a very simple salad which both looks and tastes delicious.
Tri colour spiral pasta( I use the Delmonte ones): 1/2 a cup
Chopped garlic( I use loads of garlic, love the flavor)
Quartered Mushrooms: 200 grams( typically one box or packet is 200 grams)
Baby corn halved or quartered( In winter switch to baby corn as they are really tender, for the rest of the year I would recommend you go with American sweet corn)
Carrots/French beans/Peas: About half a cup of each
Capsicum: Red and Yellow( about quarter of each, cut into small square pieces)
For the Dressing
Oregano( try the Rupak Oregano dressing, widely available in Delhi, it contains other spices like Carway seeds etc.)
Olive oil( again I use the Delmonte brand, way more economical, :-))
Lime juice: 2 tbsp
Boil the carrots, peas and beans.
Saute the mushrooms in olive oil, Saute the spinach in olive oil( do this separately).
Then assemble all the veggies, add in the boiled pasta. Prepare a dressing of lime juice, olive oil and oregano.
Mix the dressing with the veggies and toss well. Allow the salad to stand for a while and then serve
This can be a meal by itself or serve it with garlic bread or soup or both.
Cheat tip: I usually cook vast quantities of spinach with olive oil, garlic and salt. Refrigerate. Then add it to salads, omelettes, curries and even to atta dough. Saves me the trouble of cleaning, chopping and cooking it each time