Thai Basil Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (5 of 11)

Friend visiting was allergic to gluten so I gave gluten-free brown rice spaghetti a try today. Verdict: this pasta is a lot stickier than when cooking normal pasta. Luckily though, taste is not compromised and in actual fact, I rather like it (gives it more texture)!

So what exactly is gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, like barley and rye. Gluten isn’t necessarily bad, but some people are gluten-intolerant, meaning their bodies produce an abnormal immune response when it breaks down gluten from wheat and related grains during digestion. The most well-known form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, which affects 1 in every 141 people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages their intestines, preventing them from absorbing vital nutrients.

For those gluten intolerant, doctors would typically recommend a gluten-free diet. Patients must avoid eating any foods and ingredients that contains gluten, including bread, beer, french fries, pasta, salad dressing, soy sauce and even some soups (unless otherwise marked as “gluten-free”).

In recent years, however, many people without gluten intolerance have seemed to embark on the fad of the “gluten-free diet”.  Experts express concern that going gluten-free without explicitly needing to could be detrimental to a person’s health as gluten-free foods are often nutrient deficient.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings):

  • Brown rice spaghetti (enough for 2)
  • 280g of salmon sashimi
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes (yellow/red)
  • 1 large bunch of thai basil leaves
  • Handful of green peas (frozen will suffice)
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper / fresh chilli (deseeded)

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (10 of 11)

METHOD:

1) Boil pasta according to package instructions (~10 minutes for al dente. NB: Brown rice pasta can take longer).

2) In the meantime, prepare the salmon, thai basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Slice the salmon sashimi into thin slices. Tear off the thai basil leaves from the stems and chop roughly. Slice the cherry tomatoes.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (7 of 11)

3) Slice the garlic and heat sauté pan with olive oil on medium heat. Pan fry the garlic until fragrant (be careful not to burn it!).

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (8 of 11)

4) Chuck in the green peas and a teaspoon of salt. Now is the time to throw in the chopped deseeded red chilli (if using fresh) or sprinkle some chilli flakes.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (6 of 11)

5) Check the pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander and  pour the contents from the sauté pan into the pasta pot. Throw in the chopped salmon, cherry tomatoes and basil then quickly pour the drained hot pasta back into the same pot and toss with your tongs. The salmon will slowly change colour as it cooks from the heat of the pasta. Add the juice from the fresh lime and toss again.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (2 of 11) Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (3 of 11)

6) Transfer pasta to bowls/plates and serve whilst warm.

 

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (4 of 11)

 

 

 

Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Wholewheat Spaghetti with Blistered Tomatoes

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (5 of 21)

What to do with basil leaves? Well, I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind is “MAKE PESTO!”.

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo. The traditional way of making pesto involves grounding it in a mortar and pestle. However, the lazier and faster way to make large quantities of pesto is to opt for a food processor. The beauty of pesto is that it can be made according to your taste. There are also many variations of pesto but for purposes of simplicity, I have stuck with the basics.

I can’t remember where I first came across the concept of zucchini noodles – could be from Pinterest. Nonetheless, these noodles are deceptively easy to make. Just need a julienne and a large zucchini. To add more texture, I decided to mix the zucchini noodles together with some wholewheat spaghetti before tossing it all over with the freshly made pesto and garnishing it with blistered tomatoes straight from the broiler.

INGREDIENTS:

Pesto (makes 1 cup):

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (18 of 21)

Zucchini Noodles with Wholewheat Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (serves 4-5)

  • 8 ounce wholewheat spaghetti
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes

METHOD: 

1) Make Pesto. Blend all ingredients together and adjust according to own liking. (NB: Best to leave motor on whilst pouring olive oil in). Set aside.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (8 of 21)

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (3 of 21)

2) Boil pot of hot water with salt and cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain and cool in colander. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (20 of 21)

2) Preheat broiler in oven to 220 degrees celsius. Layer tomatoes on roasting tray, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and broil for ~15 minutes until blistered.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (17 of 21)

3) Make zucchini noodles with julienne.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (12 of 21) Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (13 of 21)

4) Heat a pan on low heat, add 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil and cook zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (7 of 21)

5) Using the same pan, stir in the zucchini noodles and pasta and pour in the freshly made pesto. Stir until well combined. Top it off by garnishing with the blistered tomatoes fresh from the oven.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (2 of 21)

Lazy Lamb Ragout Wholewheat Penne

Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (14 of 15) Haven’t cooked for some time so I have been naturally aching to scratch that creative “itch”. Last week, I so happened to catch up with a good friend of mine who also happens to be a culinary aficionado. Admittedly, he is way more refined than me when it comes to the palate; at least he has experienced firsthand what it is like to work in a 3-star michelin restaurant. “Priceless experience”, he would say. He was kind enough to share with me two ‘secret’ recipes (well, not so much of a secret any longer after I publish it on KitchenMess) that will take no longer than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. One is the lazy man’s guide to a tasty ragout which I am about to share with you right now. INGREDIENTS (serves one):

  • 1 sausage (I used lamb, hence the name “lazy lamb ragout”)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes in sauce (~411g tin)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of worcester sauce
  • 1 chopped small onion/shallot
  • 1 bunch of torn basil leaves
  • 1 cup wholewheat penne uncooked
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan (optional)

METHOD:

1) Heat saucepan, add a knob of olive oil and then throw in the diced shallots.  After 1-2 minutes, open the can of diced tomatoes and pour all the contents in. Low boil for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add 1 teaspoon of worcester sauce and a squirt of tomato paste (~ 1 tablespoon). Season with salt and pepper. Stir until dissolved. Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (3 of 15) 2) While tomato sauce is brewing, de-skin the sausage. Simply use a small knife to peel off all the skin.

Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (5 of 15)

3) Mash the sausage content with a fork and sprinkle with some black pepper. Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (6 of 15) 4) Now to cook the pasta. Boil pot of water, add some salt and throw in one cup of dry penne pasta (I used wholewheat here to boost my overall fiber content for the day). Cook according to package instructions (roughly 10-11 minutes for al dente).

5) In the meantime, add the minced lamb mixture into the saucepan with the tomato sauce and with the aid of the fork and slotted spoon, quickly break apart the meat inside the sauce so that it more or less resembles a ragout. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until done.

Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (7 of 15)

6) By now the pasta should be ready. Drain the pasta in a colander and pour cooked pasta into a serving bowl. Pour the tomato lamb ragout sauce mixture on top of the pasta.

Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (9 of 15)

Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (11 of 15)

7)  Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese if desired. And there you go, a 30 minute hearty ragout. Serve and enjoy.Lazy Lamb Ragout Penne (15 of 15)

Mashed Avocado Whole Wheat Penne with Chopped Tomato and Parmesan Grating

Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (12 of 12)What to do with an overripe avocado? An instinctive response would be to “mash it”! On that note, I decided to make a quick, healthy and fulfilling lunch that took no longer than 20 minutes. Whole wheat penne with mashed avocado dressing mixed in with a tomato salsa and garnished with parmesan shavings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Avocado
  • Wholewheat Penne Pasta (2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tomato (diced into cubes)
  • 1 garlic clove (grated)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper (as required)

Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (3 of 12) METHOD:

1) Boil a pot of water and add pasta in. Cook according to package instructions (roughly 12 minutes for whole wheat penne if you are aiming for ‘al dente’ texture). In the meantime, mash avocado in a bowl. Squeeze juice of one lime and sprinkle pepper and salt. Grate some garlic into the mixture and mix well with a fork. Adjust taste according to personal preference.

Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (4 of 12) 2) Add chopped tomatoes into the avocado paste and mix together with the fork. Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (8 of 12) 3) Drain cooked pasta in a colander and pour into bowl. Combine avocado tomato mixture with the pasta and toss to distribute evenly. Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (10 of 12) 4) Garnish with more chopped tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan before serving. Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (11 of 12)