Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pasta & Prawn Bake-A New Start and a New Bake!

As I type this post, the lyrics of the Bryan Adams' song, Here I Am (incidentally from one of my favorite movies, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron) keeps looping around in my mind. Especially the lines "It's a new day...a new world...a new start". Maybe because this is my first proper post this year after my "new year wishes" one.

This year, several things are new for me. One, I've changed the template on this do you like it? Two, I'm typing this on my new netbook, which is so goodlooking and comfy-to-use and sleek that I frankly can't keep my hands off of it! Three, I've got a new wireless internet connection. Just these two things, which were very timely "new year" gifts, are the things I absolutely can't live without-yes, a computer and the internet! So now hopefully I can blog and work whenever and wherever I want to (subject to my son's nap and sleeptime, that is!) Thanks a lot to my mom and dad....

Also, in a previous post, I had mentioned winning the giveaway hamper on Katerina's blog. She sent the hamper immediately and it reached me here in India, all the way from Athens, in just under a week! The hamper was not only thoughtfully packed with wonderful little Greek foodstuffs, but also packed in a lovely box with a nice bow string, with a sweet little note included. There was a packet of organic handmade pasta (made in a 200-year-old mill), a pack of specially grown Greek saffron, a jar of organic eggplant and pinenut chutney, a packet of a special Greek resin called Mastic which is used for flavoring, and a pack of organic Greek mountain tea.

It was my mom's idea to cook the pasta for our new year eve dinner and so we both came up with this recipe that was totally new and fresh (though the methods may not be!). The end result was delicious and we savored the pasta more than usual, coming as it was from such a faraway, exotic land! This, combined with the delicious chutney, made the new year even more promising! Thank you, Katerina, once again, for everything! Now, onto the recipe...

Please keep in mind that I was literally hamming my way through the preparation of this dish, so if you're going to try it out, be creative and flexible with the measurements!

To serve 4
  1. 1 to 2 cups pasta (this pasta was a small square-shaped one, but you can use any type)
  2. 200 grams or 1 cup prawns, cleaned and deveined (large or small-if large, chop into smaller bits)
  3. 1 large onion, minced
  4. 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 chicken stock cube
  6. 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 1 tablespoon flour or maida
  8. 1 cup milk
  9. 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs of your choice (thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary....)
  10. 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  12. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus some more to drizzle on the cooked pasta)
  • In a deep pan or wok, heat the oil and let the garlic bits sizzle in it.
  • Add the onions and fry till translucent.
  • Now tip in the prawns and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
  • Crumble the chicken stock cube and add to the prawns, along with the mixed dried herbs, salt, and lots of pepper.
  • Let it simmer, covered with a lid, until cooked and tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta following the instructions on your packet. Drain it when al dente (a little undercooked) and drizzle some oil on it and keep aside in a colander.
  • When that is done, make the white sauce (Bechamel)-heat up a saucepan with the butter (this would also be the right time to preheat your oven to 200 C).
  • Making sure the butter does not burn (turn the flame to the lowest), tip in the flour and stir briskly, while pouring in the milk slowly. If needed, take the saucepan off the flame and stir around until you get a smooth, custard-like consistency of a sauce.
  • Season with a little salt (if using unsalted butter) and pepper to taste.
  • Now pour this sauce into the pan with the prawns and mix nicely.
  • Tip in the drained pasta and mix again, gently.
  • Lastly, add the breadcrumbs and combine. Take off the stove.
  • Now transfer this to the baking dish of your choice and put it into the oven, baking until it turns golden brown and bubbling, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve with a side of a green salad or garlic bread or just on its own! Perfect with a glass of wine too.....

You can reserve some of the water drained from the cooked pasta and add it to the white sauce.
You could garnish with tomato slices, to get an oven-dried tomato effect.
Also, layering the top with cheese grated or cheese slices will be simply marvellous, if you're not going to be counting calories as part of your new year resolutions!

I am linking this to the following food blog events:
Presto Pasta Nights, started by Ruth Daniels, and hosted this week by Claire.
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen.
FoodieFriday at Designs by Gollum.
Family Friendly Fridays, hosted by Julie.


Claire said...

Congratulations on winning the basket. I love what you made from it!
Thanks for sending this over to Presto Pasta Nights.

Katerina said...

Welcome back Karishma! I hope you liked everything that was in that basket. This is agreat casserole to start blogging again. Lots of kisses. Beautiful template.

Karishma said...

@Claire: Thanks for having me!
@Katerina: Glad you liked the new more thing I'm happy about is that I could restart blogging in the new year, on a fresh note, with your own special foodie goodies! Lots of love and good luck on your search for a new template too (tho I like the one you have now just fine!)

The Food Hunter said...

Congratulations...great post.

Julie M. said...

Can I just say that I am super jealous? That basket of goodies looks amazing and your recipe delicious! I love what you did with it!

Oh, and I agree completely. Wireless internet is a beautiful thing. :D

Thanks so much for linking up and have a wonderful weekend!

Claudia said...

How exciting to get that package in the mail! And, a great use of ingredients, which sounds delicious.

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Sounds delicious - yum :-)
How lucky to win that beautiful hamper - I'm very envious - especially after my trip to Greece last year, and totally falling in love with Greek food.
Sue :-)