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Unless I’m making rougaille I usually prefer eating my tomatoes raw especially in salads or sandwiched between two slices of brown bread along with some other savory filling. But after I spied this ridiculously easy recipe while flipping through my BBC GoodFood Pasta & Noodles Book, I immediately reached out for a fresh punnet of cherry tomatoes and the last of my Panzani Rigatoni Special Sauce. For this quick dinner, I threw in a bit of leftover chicken and some torn basil leaves for extra flavor but you can also add broccoli, baby corn or carrots. The heat from that little sprinkling of smoked paprika combines wonderfully with the sweetness of cherry tomatoes in this hearty pasta dish.

CHERRY TOMATO PASTA

Ingredients:

450g cherry tomatoes

Pinch of golden caster sugar

1 brown onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

5 tablespoons vegetable stock

350g short pasta shapes/penne

200g cooked chicken, shredded

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Put the tomatoes, sugar, onion, garlic, oregano and vegetable stock in a large saucepan.

  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water as per packet instructions.

  • Drain well and toss with a teaspoon olive oil. Add chicken and paprika to tomato sauce.

  • Pour over cooked pasta. Toss and garnish with oregano and Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Cherry Tomato Pasta

Salad meals have becomes the latest trend among health conscious foodies and bloggers. The average working man or woman has virtually no time to sit and plan a basic balanced meal. Even lunch time has become a dash to grab a sandwich and a bottle of mineral water between two meetings. As we give in to our hectic schedules, our daily meals become increasingly pre-packed or takeaway stuff, which we devour mindlessly as we put convenience ahead of health benefits. This delicious rice noodle salad can help balance out the junk food with its colorful jumble of prawns, nuts, and crunchy veggies. Taken from the blotchy pages of my well-used salad book, Larousse Salades Repas, this cold Asian salad can be served in verrines as fancy hors d’oeuvres or packed in a mason jar for office lunch.

COLD RICE NOODLE SALAD

Ingredients:

350g thick rice noodles

1 small pineapple, peeled

150g bean sprouts

250g large prawns

1 small English cucumber

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small bunch mint leaves

60g salted cashew nuts

1 small red chili, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

Method:

  • Prepare the dressing by crushing chili, garlic and sugar in a mortar. Transfer to small bowl.

  • Stir in lime juice and fish sauce and keep the dressing in the fridge until ready to assemble.

  • Cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions. Drain them well and place in serving bowl.

  • Cut the pineapple into small cubes and slice cucumber thinly. Shell and devein the prawns.

  • Sautee them in one tablespoon oil until they turn pink and are cooked throughout. Set aside.

  • To assemble salad, combine noodles with pineapple, cucumber, bean sprouts and tomatoes.

  • Add the cooked prawns, drizzle salad with dressing and toss in bowl till it is well combined.

  • Scatter the salted cashew nuts and fresh mint leaves to top before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

If you need a simple yet special non veg appetizer to make an impression on your guests for New Year, this delicious buttery prawn recipe from Bon Appétit is the one you should bookmark. I’m pretty sure you will be making it plenty more times once you get over your festive hangover, in fact, every time you can get fresh king prawns from the deli to be more accurate. While whole prawns may be a whole lot more expensive than unshelled, frozen ones, you will definitely appreciate that peeling them after cooking ensures that they remain plump and juicy. It is only a matter of getting your fingers dirty at the table but nothing that a good rinse in a warm finger bowl cannot fix.

BUTTERY SPICY KING PRAWNS

Ingredients:

4 garlic cloves, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup dry white wine, optional

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Warm crusty bread, for serving

Method:

  • Whisk grated garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Add the prawns and toss well to coat.

  • Chill, uncovered, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet.

  • Cook prawns, being careful not to let brown, until pink but still slightly underdone, for 1 minute per side.

  • Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil in pan as possible. Now add the sliced garlic.

  • Add red pepper to skillet and cook, tossing, till fragrant, about 1 minute. Add white wine and lemon juice.

  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and cook, until melted.

  • Cook till sauce thickens for 5 minutes more. Scrape prawns along with any accumulated juices into skillet.

  • Toss to coat and cook until shrimp are fully cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter.

  • Top the prawns with parsley, and serve with warm, crusty bread for dipping alongside. Makes 4 servings.

Buttery Spicy Prawns

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PrerrnaMirchi
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