I can eat pasta for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Given a choice it will also be my food preference after having a raunchy love making session. I think I might be in love with pasta more than the Italians themselves. And it could be the reason I am with girlfriend for last 7 years, because she is Italian.
Jokes part, pasta I believe is a very versatile food. I have made pasta recipes with red sauce, white sauce, green sauce (pesto), and every other color under the sun. And this time I wanted to push it a little more, outside the realms of traditional sauces….spicy sauce.
The idea came about one day when I was buying groceries and saw a jar of Harissa. Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste, made of roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers or Serrano peppers, spices and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds. A lot of the herbs and spices i.e. coriander, cumin, chillies, garlic are also the main-stay of Indian cuisine. My love for Italian food, my Indian heritage, and a jar of Harissa staring me in the face, I was unstoppable…I had to make something. It was the birth of “Pasta Piccante”
I could envision the flavors in my head. Heat from chillies, tanginess from tomatoes, Mediterranean flavors of Sun-dried tomatoes and parsley, fragrant fennel seeds, the Indian flavors of cumin and coriander, texture from chickpeas and char-grilled zucchini, inherent creaminess of pasta. I am not sure if the words can so justice, but this dish works.
And I am sure you are sick of me saying this, but it is very very simple to put together.
So lets get cooking.
Heat level- High (use less chillies to make it mild)
INGREDIENTS FOR PICCANTE SAUCE
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 3 dried red chillies
- ½ cup Sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds ( or 2 tsp coriander powder)
- 2 tsp cumin seeds ( or 1 tsp cumin powder)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 tbsp lemon juice/white vinegar
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup water
- Salt to taste
- 375 g pasta of your choice (Cook and keep aside)
- 1 can chickpeas (Drained)
- 1 zucchini (cut diagonally in 5 mm thick slices and char-grilled)
- Soften the dried chillies by soaking them in boiling water for 10 min. (To intensify the flavor) Drain before using.
- Add all the ingredients for the Piccante sauce in a blender, and make a smooth paste. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Heat up a large frying pan.
- Add the Piccante sauce, chickpeas and cook for 2-3 min on medium heat. (Add some water if the sauce is too thick)
- Toss in pasta and char-grilled zucchini and mix well. Serve hot.