My husband is really funny. When I ask him what he would like for dinner on any given day, his answer is always the same; out of the million things I can make he always comes up with, “How about Chicken Corn Soup?” or “I like that pasta thing you make with meat, and peas and sauce.” I don’t know why he only remembers those two things or maybe he just loves them that much? The unfortunate thing is, I never have the stuff for Chicken Corn Soup half the time, and only some components of “that pasta thing”, so needless to say, he hardly ever gets his choice! However, yesterday was his lucky day. I had made sure to buy all the required stuff for “that pasta thing.” This dish has no name. It’s something I made up a few years back from a memory of a dish I had eaten at some luncheon.
It was the summer my oldest sister got married in Pakistan. My grandparents were there for the wedding also, and one of my grandfather’s relatives had invited them for lunch. He made us go with them. I loved my grandfather. He was an amazing man and the one man I admire the most in my life. Just a couple of words in my pasta post does not do him justice, so I will stop now and dedicate an entire post to him in the future. Anyway, back to my dish, so these relatives of my grandfather’s, they invited us for lunch. First, I must say, that pasta is not the norm in Pakistan. Not many people eat it, many, plain don’t like it and even fewer know how to cook it. So it was a bit of a surprise to see a pasta dish as our main course. However, since my siblings and I were visiting from London, we were excited to see pasta after months of eating rice and heavily sauced and spiced dishes. I don’t know what it is about this pasta dish that I remember it even after almost 29 years! Maybe our Pakistani host was secretly trained in Italy as a pasta chef and so was able to create this unforgettable work of culinary delight, or more realistically, as a thirteen year old who hadn’t had pasta in a while, it was just the excitement of it all! All I can say is that it was good and now having a recreated something similar in my kitchen, my husband Trace, thinks so too.
So, what’s in this pasta masterpiece? It’s not complicated at all actually, there’s pasta layered with a spicy, Indian flavoured, boneless beef/stew meat, some peas, and topped with a white sauce and baked. That’s it. I remember mainly the flavours of the original dish and not all of what was in it. I think it had more stuff than I put in my mine, but I like mine so I don’t mess with it. I think the spiciness of the meat soaking into the pasta and then the creaminess from the white sauce is what makes this dish work. Yesterday, I made the dish with brown rice pasta and the white sauce was made using corn starch. I am on a gluten free diet for awhile for my joints and since I didn’t want to make two dinners, I just adjusted this one. You can probably add any vegetable you want but the original had peas and I love peas so that’s what I use. I also added mushrooms last night and that worked really well.
Trace was a happy camper and even more so when he found 3 half gallons of ice cream in the freezer!
Hope y’all try this dish that has been 29 years in the making! Let me know what you think.