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Mediterranean treats with herbs and spices

india Updated: Nov 27, 2010 22:26 IST
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Marinara sauce

This classic Italian chunky tomato sauce can be added to pasta, pizzas, seafood, rice or had by itself as a dip.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and diced 1/4 inch dice or smaller

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 kg tomatoes, seeded and grated

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1 sprig of fresh basil, if available

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick saucepan. Add the carrots. Cook, stirring, until tender, upto eight minutes. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, basil sprig, salt, tomato paste and oregano. Stir, and turn up the heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until thick and fragrant, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the basil sprig, and wipe any sauce adhering to it back into the pan.

Yield: 2 1/4 cups, serves eight

Nutritional per half cup: 65 calories; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams dietary fibre; 27 milligrams sodium; 1 gram protein Pumpkin gelato

This is an ice cream version of pumpkin pie, but lighter. Roast the pumpkin until very soft to get a fine puree.

4 cups low-fat milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 1/4 cups purée (500 gm pumpkin)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine the milk, sugar and honey in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator.

2. Take out from freezer and beat before freezing again for at least two hours before serving.

To roast the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Place the pumpkin pieces on the baking sheet, drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil on top, cover with foil and place in the oven. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Transfer to a strainer set over a bowl and drain. Peel and purée in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Serves 10.

Nutritional per serving: 117 calories; 1 gram fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 5 milligrams cholesterol; 24 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fibre; 49 milligrams sodium; 4 grams protein.