I like to eat on a flat plate.
The longer the better.
The wider the better.
Enough place for my elbow to
sometimes touch the spicy stews
And sometimes catch the rice that falls
Accidentally from my fingers
I don’t like to eat from tall
Cardboard takeout boxes.
Their white walls hiding the sauces
That I want to smear on my fingertips
I started typing this post to the mild thuds and hammering noises emanating from our living room. There was a leak somewhere, in a pipe that runs under the foundation of one of the neighboring houses. And so our carpets were being ripped up and the furniture draped in unflattering plastic sheets. The thuds grew louder and I realized that there was no way I was going to go downstairs to make the coconut chutney that I had thought would be Day 6’s recipe. And so I began frantically searching for photographs of food on my computer, that I could possibly use. And then I found this picture of a penne-like pasta in a pink sauce, that was on my original marathon list, but which I didn’t get a chance to make this week.
This dish was born from that green seed of restaurant envy that Nupur often refers to. I had eaten a spinach filled ravioli in a pink sauce at this restaurant in Newport Beach. The sauce was so delicious that I had to summon all the scraps of will I possessed to stop myself from licking my plate. A couple of weeks after the first time I’d tasted this sauce, I was hit by a craving to eat it again. However, I decided I would try creating something similar at home rather than go out to eat it. And so I raided my fridge and pantry and attempted to do exactly that.
The original Mama D’s pink sauce is basically a a creamy pink sauce that seems to be a red sauce with some cream added to it. I decided to create a more chunky version of it with onions and bell peppers. The resulting sauce was reminiscent of, but not very similar to the original as I didn’t want to use any heavy cream. BUT it was yummy scrummilicious. Since this was quite a while ago, I don’t remember the exact quantities that I used, but I remember the method and I also found this in my recipe drafts document:
Recipe for pink sauce:
Make alfredo sauce but with flour- like a bechamel/mornay sauce..
Then onion, garlic..then tomato- a little bit of dhania powder
And that is the gist of what I did. But here are the details of this experiment.
The basic idea was to create a red tomato based sauce with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and a white sauce containing flour, butter and cheese. Mixing a red and white sauce would obviously give me a PINK sauce..:)
For the red sauce
you will need:
1 large red onion sliced into thin strips
1 cup of green/red bell peppers
2 large tomatoes
1 can of crushed tomatoes/tomato paste
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp of dhania/corriander powder
2 tsps oil
Heat the oil. Once the oil is hot (test by dropping in a cumin seed or two. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough), add the onions and garlic and saute till the onion is a soft and a light transparent pink. Add the bell peppers and let it cook for 5 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are a little mushy add the dhania powder and the canned tomatoes. Allow the sauce to cook till the crushed tomatoes lose their raw taste. Add around 2 cups of water and cook till the water mixture reduces to a thicker sauce.
For the white sauce
You will need:
1-2 tablespoon of butter
2-3 tbsps of all purpose flour (you can experiment with a little less or more)
1/3 cup of parmesan/comte cheese
1/2-1 cup of milk
Heat the butter in a non stick skillet or a steel saucepan. Once the butter has melted and starting to bubble, add the flour while continuously stirring. Roast the flour for a few minutes, but don’t allow it to brown.
Add the milk while stirring, so that lumps do not form. Heat the mixture for a few minutes and then add the cheese. Keep stirring and allow the mixture to cook till it thickens. Add salt and pepper.
Putting the two together
Mix the red and white sauce. It was quite a thrill to watch the red tomato-ey sauce slowly turn pink as I added the mornay sauce to it. Almost like the first time I discovered the multitudes of colors that I could create by mixing a few blobs of paint. Add cooked pasta to the pink sauce and place it on low heat. Mix everything to ensure that the pasta is coated with the sauce.
Top with freshly ground pepper and dried herbs. Eat. And if you are uninhibited by prim and proper company, don’t forget to lick your plate clean.