Working at a corporate job has its set of benefits, and limitations. The limitations come in the form of scant time for self and home. For one, there’s not adequate time to travel back home through traffic gridlocks and then wait in the hope of enjoying hours of cooking time. Never. As with survival instincts that come to the fore when you have no choice, you will unquestionably devise short cuts to find time for whatever takes your fancy after work hours.
One of them is cooking. To me, the chopping of ingredients consumes a considerable amount of time. Even shopping for those ingredients does hold you up on time, so it will do well to factor in that bit when setting up a time schedule for cooking.
The part that can be vexing is that of drawing a list of items to shop. It isn’t the writing of a list that is wracking in itself. But in checking each and every drawer in the kitchen for items that may possibly be pushed to the far recesses and out of sight. You don’t want to order a second pack of flour or another chilli flakes container if there’s one sitting in the wrong place.
The next thing that will nettle you is when you have to assess the measured quantities required for your dish. If, for instance, you plan to cook a kilo of chicken you’d need two packs of cream but if cooking 300 grams of it, perhaps half a pack would be sufficient or would it be less than half? Scratch, scratch, scratch your head.
How would you know if your pack in the fridge is half or three-fourths full? Of course, that comes with experience and if you don’t have a cook managing (read coming in the way of) your kitchen on weekdays you ought to be fine.
It’s for this precise reason that I choose to cook dishes that have ingredients that can be boiled or marinated a day ahead. This reduces cooking time on the main day which can be utilised for merely sauteeing, stirring and baking.
So, here goes my take on Fettuccine Alfredo, Italian recipe which is oft used for my party affairs as there’s not much left to do on the day of the affair.
200 grams Flat Noodles (200gm, can be boiled adding oil while boiling, can be boiled 1-2 days ahead & stored in the refrigerator, boiling time 10-12 mins)
100ml (or half a pack) Amul Fresh Cream
2 tablespoons Amul Butter
1 tablespoon Garlic (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon Mixed Herbs (or dried fresh herbs)
1/4th teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
Chilli Flakes (as per your taste buds)
- Shake the fresh cream pack well.
- Heat butter & fresh cream together for a few seconds.
- Add the chopped garlic, chilli flakes, pepper and stir in well.
- Add the salt (a little less, owing to the salt content in the butter) and boil for a minute.
- Drop in the flat noodles, stir well and turn off the gas.
1 tablespoon Amul Butter
300 grams Chicken
100gm Broccoli (chopped into medium sized florets)
5-6 Mushrooms (chopped to medium size)
4-5 Baby Corn (sliced in the centre)
A palmful Mozarella Cheese (grated)
A palmful Amul Regular Cheese (grated)
1 teaspoon Mixed Herbs
1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes
1 teaspoon Salt
Heat butter, don’t wait until it melts before adding the chicken, stir for a few seconds.
- Add pepper, chilli flakes, mixed herbs & salt. Stir till chicken is cooked well (for approximately 5 to 7 minutes).
- Add the chopped veggies (i.e. mushrooms, broccoli, corn), stirring for 5 to 7 minutes.
- If storing a day ahead, grease a Borosil toughened glass dish with butter.
- Fill the dish with cooked noodles.
- Top with chicken & veggie mix.
- Further, sprinkle grated Mozarella & regular Amul cheese.
- Wrap with cling film and store in the refrigerator a day ahead.
- On the day of the event, take it out of the refrigerator and bake in an OTG for 10 to 15 minutes on 180-200 degrees(with no need for pre-heating)
Use a little oil while boiling the noodles. If you happen to miss adding oil during the boiling process, rub some oil into your fingers and mix it into the noodles later.
Always cool the noodles in the refrigerator before cooking as hot noodles tend to break during baking. Of course, you may need no telling that you would need to bring the boiled noodles down to room temperature before cooling in the refrigerator.
A preferred mixed herbs brand is Carmencite brand OR Kopol. You could pick up fresh herbs (like basil, chives, celery, rosemary) from the marketplace, then dry them on your kitchen platform or any available flat surface for a couple of days. After they are well dried, grind them individually using the same proportion for each of the three herbs when mixing them together.
Fettuccine Alfredo Italian recipe – represents a meal in itself, with no embellishments, except perhaps for a good bottle of wine!
Questo cibo e molto buono! (This food is delicious!)