Honestly being an Indian, I will always prefer Indian food. However one cuisine that comes very close to me in this respect is Italian food. I love both pizza dn pasta, in all their forms/types (as long as they are vegetarian 🙂 ). My little angel has also become very fond of pasta and so I usually make pasta once in a week for the family. My husband loves his pasta with white sauce but I have always been sceptical of using all-purpose flour for the white sauce. So today I prepared the white sauce in a more healthy way, using whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour and it turned out be super delicious (you have to take my word 🙂 )
Thanks to my dear friend Somia Sahoo, who has given me the idea to use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. ❤
A bit of context on the white sauce: – White sauce is known as Béchamel (bay-shah-mel) sauce in France. It is believed that it is one of the four basic sauces called “meres” or “mother sauces” from which all other sauces are derived. Flour is whisked into melted butter (equal parts butter and flour) and cooked until bubbly to form a roux which acts as the thickening base for the white sauce. Milk is then added and the mixture is cooked slowly over low heat until it thickens as a sauce. The key is to cook the roux slowly so that it does not gets brown.
Having learned the significance of the white sauce, it actually took me 2-3 trials to get close to perfection. I am now happy to share my White sauce experience through this post.
The ingredients for Pasta in White Sauce are :
1. Pasta (boiled) : 3 cups
2. Pepper (Green & Red) : 1 cup (chopped)
3. Garlic : 2 cloves (finely chopped)
4. Whole wheat flour : 1 Tbsp
5. Milk : 1 cup
6. Mixed Italian herb : 1 tsp (or your choice of Italian herb)
7. Oregano : 1 tsp (or your choice of Italian herb)
8. Olive oil : 1 tsp
9. Butter : 1 Tbsp
10. Cheddar Cheese : 2 Tbsp (grated) + for garnishing
11. Salt : to taste
12. Black Pepper Powder : to taste
For boiling the Pasta : Take water in a pan and bring it to boil. Then add salt and oil. Now add the pasta and cook till the pasta is al dente (Italian word that refers to pasta that is cooked just long enough so that it is neither crunchy nor too soft). Stir the pasta occasionally while cooking, to prevent it from sticking together.
Drain the boiled pasta in a colander and rinse it with cold running water (this prevent the pasta to get cooked further). Sprinkle few drops of olive oil and gently toss the pasta; keep it aside. (remember to keep 1/2 cup of the water in which pasta was cooked, as we might need it later)
Heat the olive oil in a pan, add peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes on a medium flame. Remove the pan from the flame, put the peppers in a plate and keep them aside.
Again, heat a pan over medium-low heat; melt the butter, add the garlic and sauté for a minute. Now add whole wheat flour, stir continuously for few minutes until the flour mixture becomes bubbly (this is our roux). Do not allow the roux to be brown or to be darken! Now gradually add milk, while stirring constantly, until the mixture is well blended, smooth and thick. It will take about 3-4 minutes.
Now add the Italian herbs, cheese, salt and black pepper; mix well and sauté for few seconds.
Then add the sautéed peppers and the boiled pasta. Mix well and stir continuously. If the sauce becomes too thick, then add little bit of the reserved water (which we have kept after boiling the pasta).
Serve immediately and garnish with cheese.
Insider Tips / Finer Points :
- Feel free to add your choice of vegetables to the pasta – broccoli, sweet corn, mushroom etc.
- Do not overcook the vegetables – the vegetables need to retain their crunchiness.
- You may use all-purpose flour (maida) or cornflour instead of whole wheat flour.
- You may use your choice of cheese as well.
- Always make pasta for 1 or 2 servings only, and not in bulk.
- I have used Penne form of pasta to prepare this dish; feel free to use any other form of pasta as per your choice.