Love is in the air. Well to be frank Valentine's Day for me is much hyped yet the celebrations of the day is infectious. To be fair my husband and I feel even more loved when we make ordinary days into Valentine specials. I will be honest here. I believe that love for thyself is the greatest love one can have and only if you love yourself can you love another being with all your heart. I decided I needed some much needed pampering and my better part of the day was spent in one of my favourite places, Downtown Bombay. The architecture , the brilliant food and everything else is a romance in itself. I treated myself to a wonderful lunch and would highly recommend Cafe Churchill to anyone who loves Western Cuisine and happens to visit Bombay. I have written about My Experience of Cafe Churchill which left me in a much better mood for love.
So I shall revel my secret today. My husband and I are far from being romantic and I have realized that while I am completely head over heels in love with love itself I am not a very romantic person in reality. Most of my romance is swimming around in my mind. Thed other secret is that my green husband is not far from being passionate when it comes to culinary interest. Having said that I must mention that he has expressed his love for my cooking from the day I had put something on the table. So while I personally love love love elaborate lunches and dinners since we are Celebrating Valentine's day I decided my food should be an ode to love and so I prepared a dish which is cherished by my husband and well I love it as well. I bought a bottle of white wine to make the day a bit special and with enough praises from the bear half I was quite happy and might I say romantic as well. The surprise element was the dessert. You see my husband does not have a sweet tooth and more importantly he had expressed his utter repulsion for dark chocolates so while I cannot have my chocolates but dark, bitter, creamy silky he loves his chocolates milky and sweet.
The surprising part was when I made some Dark chocolate Swiss truffles a few weeks back for my dear friend Claudia and well there were a few leftovers. I will go on to give a detailed description of what happened. I was in bed with Anna Karenina where she is madly in love when my bear half came over murmuring ' Mmmm Manjari , these are delicious. I love them' I looked up to find him relishing the dark chocolates truffles. I said, 'but you do not like dark chocolates' to which there was no reply since he kept popping one chocolate after the other in his mouth. My personal belief is that the cream which is used for truffles makes it a delight for all people unless they dislike chocolates.
So for dessert I decided on some Swiss Truffles. Now we did not actually have the dessert on Valentine's Day per say since both of us believe that any day can be Valentine's day and so my basic truffle was ready by the next day and even before I could roll them in the nuts or coat them with chocolate 7 of them were polished off by a man whose teeth was dark after the overindulgence. I couldn't be more happy. By night I was done with the coating and well who knew that the man who once despised desserts would pop in two more truffles.
So coming back to my food I chose Spaghetti alla Arrabbiata a dish which is cherished by my husband. Now usually I make Arrabbiata the old fashioned authentic way which simply uses garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and chilies and I love how you can play around with taste by adding a bit of basil on some days and a bit of parmesan on other days .I have personally even added red bell pepper with raving reviews. Here I must share a particularly important bit of information that I have learnt myself. You see most people would have you believe that Arrabbiata is incomplete without Parmesan or basil but that is not the case as I have mentioned already. Arrabbiata means angry and the pasta is called so due to the presence of ripe red chilies which give it is fiery taste. For a true gourmet feel do add the cheese and basil , it might not be absolutely authentic but is certainly tastes heavenly. The best part about this dish is that it hardly takes 15 minutes giving you ample time for other romantic activities.
What you need for 2 lovebirds :-
2/6 of 500gm pasta or a bit more if you have a strong appetite
5 to 6 plump tomatoes
4 to 5 garlic cloves (Indian medium size)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 ripe red chilies
A good handful of grated Parmesan cheese
5 to 6 fresh basil leaves
Salt as per taste
Start by boiling your pasta as per instructions mentioned on the packet. Bring water to boil and add salt and pasta and cook as per instructions. It usually takes 10 minutes to 11 minutes . In the meantime mince your garlic as finely as possible, finely chop the chilies and chop those plump tomatoes and grate the cheese. Leaving 2 basil leaves finely chop the rest. When the pasta has cooked for 4 minutes start making your sauce by heating up 2 tbsp olive oil and saute the garlic. Saute the garlic but do not brown them one bit. Add the chilies and then the tomatoes and basil and cook on medium flame mashing them with a masher from time to time. When you see little bubbles lower the heat to low flame and add salt and cover . Once the pasta is done drain it and give the sauce a good mash so that it is smooth and simply mix the sauce with the grated Parmesan reserving about a tablespoon . Use a spatula to make sure that the cheese has melted which it anyways will due to the heat from the sauce. Mix the spaghetti with the sauce and arrange in a pasta bowl or dinner plate and sprinkle Parmesan cheese and garnish with the basil leaves. Its simple easy , quick and a lover's delight. Oh by the way its red the colour of passion. Ah but did you know that basil is an aphrodisiac. So make anyday of the year a Valentine's special dinner with this easy simple delightful recipe which is tangy with the fresh sweetness of basil and the delightful fieriness and creamy cheesy taste.
Now what is Valentine's Day without some chocolaty indulgence.
Swiss truffles, smooth silky soft and delicious inside with a nutty coating or a solid chocolate coating
This is part of Kolkata Food Blogger's Love on Plate do check our Page for scrumptious dishes you might prepare for your romantic partner