Actor Purab Kohli tossed up his first Italian pizza along with Chef Oriana Tirabassi at Mezzo Mezzo in JW Marriott recently as part of their Star Chef promotion campaign in the city.
Kohli learnt from Tirabassi that any Italian dish can be made healthy based on the ingredients you add to it. "Tirabassi’s tip was to use Parmesan cheese as the basic ingredient. Adding olive oil, herbs and vegetable is also a good idea," says Kohli.
A self confessed foodie, he picks up authentic Italian ingredients on his travels abroad. "During a holiday in Rome, I picked up artichokes, different kinds of cheese, olives, cold cut meats, antipasto and certain spices that go well with Italian food." His idea of a quiet romantic evening is to "cook low fat whole-wheat pasta with lots of vegetables and serve it with wine." On his other days, he likes to eat out at Tratorria and Mia Cucina.
Actor Amrita Rao agrees to the romantic aspect of Italian food, "I can easily be wooed with a well made pasta." Talking about her visit to Italy for a shoot, Rao says, "I ate different kinds of brochettes dipped in olive oil and basil sauce." For her Italian fix in Mumbai, she prefers Out of the Blue or eats "yummy baked vegetable with cheese" that her mother prepares.
Actor Kajol, who otherwise follows a healthy diet, too has a weakness for Italian cuisine. She is said to have gorged her heart out on cheesy pasta and macaroni during her second pregnancy days.
Actor Chitrangada Singh who prides in her culinary skills shares tips on doling out healthy Italian options. “Pasta by itself is not bad. It’s the sauce that makes it heavy. I particularly love a nicely mixed salad in olive oil, bocaccini or feta cheese mixed with a little tomato garnishing.” Her other favourites are basil, beaten garlic steamed with rock salt in pasta or risotto made of red meat and brown rice. Like Kohli, on her travels Singh last picked up pesto in mustard oil, basil pesto, and rosemary paste from London.
Homemade Pasta with Beetroot
80 gms Pasta (Tagliatelle and Fettuccine)
25g cooked beetroot
1 tablespoon olive oil
20 gms spinach
30 gms Robiola cheese
30 gms Crescenza cheese
Cook pasta for 5-6 minutes in boiling salted water, or until the pasta is al-dente.
Blanch the pasta in Pan 1 with spinach for flavour
Sauté olive oil, garlic and spinach in Pan 2 and add Robiola and Crescenza cheese.
Add beetroot and cook with Parmesan cheese
Add cooked pasta to Pan 2 and lightly toss
Sauté and serve hot
1 kg flour
Knead pizza dough and keep in a plastic bowl for 25 minutes.
Place the dough in an electric oven for 20 minutes.
Unwrap the dough and brush with olive oil in the tray and wait until it rises to double its size.
Knead dough to base form, add 1 tsp of tomato sauce.
Add garlic and basil leaves.
Place in the home oven for 5 minutes and remove.
Add mozzarella on top and place the pizza in the oven.
Remove and add additional toppings, as per liking.