Italian food is considered the ultimate comfort food by many. Colourful, fresh dishes packed full of beautiful veggies, comforting carbs and a variety of meat, there’s hardly a person in the land who would turn down a fresh stone-baked pizza, or a hearty lasagne full of piping hot sauce and topped with perfectly melted cheese.

There’s nothing wrong, however, with adding a little bit of spice and extra ‘wow’ factor to some old classics. Mix up your mid-week suppers with some of these exciting fusion recipes, bringing together some of the best elements of Asian and European cooking in tasty dishes that really pack some punch!

Masala Pasta
Masala Pasta

Masala Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Farfalle or Penne pasta
  • 1 Onion, medium
  • 1 large Tomato
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup Chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup Peas
  • 1/4 cup Chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder 
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper powder
  • Pinch of Kasoori methi
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp Chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt, as needed
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Jeera / Cumin Seeds

Method:

  1. Boil a large pan of lightly salted water and cook the pasta for 10-12 minutes, or as per the package instructions. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of water for later use. Set aside.
  2. Blanche a whole tomato in very hot boiling water for around one minute, then remove, run under cold water and peel. Blend the tomato until coarsely pureed.
  3. Heat a kadai or other thick-bottomed pan with oil and temper cumin seeds over a medium flame. Add garlic and stir, then add onion and fry until transparent. Add in peas, carrot and salt then fry for around two minutes.
  4. Add in pureed tomato, red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric powders, kasoori methi, and italian seasoning. Fry for a few minutes over a medium flame, then add chopped pepper and fry for another minute.
  5. Remove from the heat and add in the cooked and drained pasta. Garnish with reserved water to loosen up if needed, and garnish with coriander leaves.

 

Basmati rice is used in this twist on a traditional risotto
Basmati rice is used in this twist on a traditional risotto

Palak ‘Risotto’

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh palak (spinach)
  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 cup kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Amul Fresh cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee or olive oil

Method:

  1. Wash the palak and boil in its own water for few minutes, then blend with mint, coriander and kasuri methi. Blend to a smooth puree and set aside.
  2. Chop the onion, ginger, garlic and green chillis finely and set aside. Melt 1 tbsp of ghee or oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the mixture to the pan to cook for around one minute, before adding in the green puree. Stir in the milk, honey, salt and spices, then cover and sauté over a low flame for around six minutes.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and fresh cream. Prepare a small saucepan over a high heat and add cumin leaves and curry leaves along with a small around of oil/butter until they begin to splutter. Pour over the cooked rice and mix.
  4. Add the prepared rice into the green sauce and cook on a medium flame for several minutes until the rice and sauce is mixed together thoroughly. Serve hot with some freshly chopped coriander and some grated hard cheese on top.

 

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza
Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 250 g boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 5 tbsp tomato pizza sauce
  • 100 g Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 250 g mozzarella cheese, shredded or balls
  • 1/4 cup red onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato chopped
  • 1/4 cup red chilli peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bunch coriander chopped

Pizza Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp milk powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup slightly warm water

Method:

  1. Cut chicken into approx. 1 inch cubes and marinate with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, chopped red pepper, and chopped chilli peppers. Leave to marinate for at least one hour. Then in a heavy pan, take a 1 tbsp oil and fry the marinated chicken mixture for 5-15 minutes on a medium heat until it dries out.
  2. For the dough, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead for around 5 minutes to make a smooth, stretchy dough. Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl, covered with damp kitchen towel, in a warm place for around an hour until double in size. After one hour, pat down the dough and roll into a large circle.
  3. Leave the dough to rest for a further 15 minutes and bake for 10 minutes at 180c until dough starts changing colour. Remove from the oven and spread with the sauce, toppings, chicken and mixed cheese. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the cheese begins to brown, keeping an eye on the crust to ensure it does not brown too much. To serve cut into slices and eat with fresh green salad.

 

Mango Semifreddo
Mango Semifreddo

Mango Semifreddo Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1sp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of fresh mango, peeled and sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Garnish

  • 1 cup of fresh mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pistachios, chopped
  • Fresh cherries

Method:

  1. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing the wrap to over-hang on the sides. This will make it easier for you to pull out the ice cream cake when it’s time to cut it. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water coming up about two inches on the sides. Set it over a medium heat and bring to a mild simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, place egg, egg yolks and 1/3 cup of sugar in a large metal bowl and beat until thick and creamy. Place bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk for around five minutes until the mixture is thick and doubled in volume. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place 3 cups of mango slices into a blender with lemon juice and process until smooth. Fold this puree into the egg yolk mixture gently and set aside.
  4. Place heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and beat until thickened. Add this mixture slowly to the egg and mango mixture, folding in gently bit by bit until thoroughly incorporated. Pour mixture into the lined tin and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, then freeze for 6-8 hours until solid.
  5. Turn out onto a serving plate and garnish with chopped mangoes, toasted pistachios and fresh cherries. To serve, cut into individual slices.
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