Growing up in Pune - India , I was familiar with most of the regional Indian cooking - south Indian (ever present idli , dosas , sambhar and various rice items etc), maharashtrian and gujrati (matki usal, pav bhaji, kadhi, dhokla, etc) and north Indian dishes (chhole, rajma, paratha, paneer dishes, etc)
However, when it came to continental dishes, I hardly had any experience there ..it was only when I started working that I tasted pizzas, baked vegetables and vegetable burgers, noodles and the like. But pasta dishes were still something that I knew only through books or TV.
It was later when I came to the US that I had my first taste of pasta and liked it immediately. Though the ingredients of the dish were familiar, the preparation and the end result were so very different from the traditional mom-cooked fare that I was used to having.
As a major pasta lover, I am constantly on the lookout for new adaptable recipes (read low-fat and vegetarian)..thats one thing that I like about these dishes...you can easily make them low fat by holding back on the cheese and you can easily make them vegetarian by substituting veggies for meat !
With resources galore, it wasnt difficult to find the following recipe and the required ingredients. Try for yourself !
Source: Low Fat Vegetarian Cookbook
12 oz dried fettuccine
1 can cream style corn
2/3 cup low fat milk
1 tsp salad oil ( I didn't have salad oil...I used regular canola oil)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion
1 large yellow or red bell pepper
1 pkg frozen corn
1 cup (or less) jalapeño jack cheese ( or just use whatever cheese you have)
1/4 cup cilantro
1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry tomatoes
1. Cook the pasta until tender. Set aside
2. Blend the cream style corn and milk until smooth.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, onion and bell pepper. Cook until the onion is soft. Add a little bit of water, if pan gets dry.
4. Stir in the pureed corn, corn kernels and cheese.
5. Stir in a handful of frozen peas
6. Reduce heat to medium and cook until cheese melts and corn and peas and heated through.
7. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and lime.
8. Pour this mixture over the pasta and stir gently.
9. Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes and chopped cilantro leaves.
The result was surprisingly delicious. The creaminess of the pureed corn, the crunch of the peas and whole corn and the bite of the pasta made for an amazing range of textures and tastes. The husband said he wouldn't mind having the dish again and little P kept coming back for bites of pasta and peas !