Sunday, September 04, 2011

Unexpectedly Italian

I slept late this morning (I woke up with a headache and went back to sleep once the maid and car washer were done). My parents called, asking if we wanted to go out for lunch to the club, but I suggested that we try out the pizzas at Hotel Raj instead. It's a vegetarian joint so Vicky had been refusing to go there all these months, but we all loved the pizza. The bread was crunchy and soft in the right places, the cheese melting into long strands and the spicing just right. Ma had a thali and that was good too but the Southie stuff there is always good.

We went shopping for -- of all things -- photuas (a kind of traditional Bengali mens shirts) and dhutis afterwards and then came home and collapsed.

After they left we got a call from Mrs Dr D asking if she and little Ratul could come over. Eventually we persuaded them to stay for dinner. Dr D dropped in as well and we all had an impromptu dinner party. We dined on macaroni in white sauce with sweetcorn, onion and shredded chicken salami which took me about 20 minutes to make, chatting as I did with Mrs Dr D all through. It was a bit dry and I suppose a little underspiced for the Dr Ds (in our kitchen we keep the spice levels low) but it was a pleasant little dinner with ice cream for afters.

In fact, now I'm thinking all I needed to make these two meals perfect was some dry red wine.

Now I'm on the lookout for Italian recipes. I've promised to make Dr D an authentic Italian meal and he has promised to bring the necessary wine. Do you have any recipes you'd recommend? I'm thinking of a lazy Sunday brunch and since there are four males involved (two fathers and two sons) we must have meat. I was thinking of spaghetti with meatballs, some kind of bacon-pasta salad and perhaps a wee lasagna? Or should I think of a risotto instead? And any recommendations for the wine? Indian make please or at least something not prohibitively expensive.


Anonymous said...

oh! let google come to your rescue.
vegetarian fare is better in pasta.

Sachinky said...

I love the dosas at Raj.

MinCat said...

check deb! i am, sadly, veggie so my italian food is all veggie. but i did assist some chefs in making a zucchini shrimp scause, only it was for aobut 20 people and they, like me, cooked all andaaz se, so i don't actually know the eexact recipe. experiment? garcil cloves in a hot pan, followed by olive oil and chilli flakes, then the zhucchini, slied thin, and salt. cook, then add shrimp/prawns and cook.
then theres

MinCat said...

though, i do have a lasagna recipe that you can adapt for mince and/or sausage...

Sue said...

Anon -- I have nothing against online recipes (some of my best friends are online recipes) but I was hoping for recipes which folks have already tried/tweaked so I could get the feedback. I have no experience in cooking Italian.

Thanks for the links all the same, I'll look through them.

Sachinky -- Well, maybe we can have a dosa there the next time you're in town?

MinCat -- Shrimp is a good idea, actually, thanks. A cold shrimp-pasta salad would be very nice. Do mail me your lasagna recipe or post it here. Thanks so much.

Dea-chan said...

Carbonara (pasta with bacon parmesan and egg), Amatriciana (pasta with bacon, percorino and tomato) are both good.

Lasagne's impossible to fuck up -- I usually use ricotta, meat sauce, black olives and mozzarella.

Or there's a dish that I know as Sorrentino which uses either chicken or veal breaded cutlets, a slice of eggplant, a slice of prosciutto topped with marinara and mozzarella. That should be served with size pasta and salad.

Or you could buy frozen gnocchi or ravioli and do something with that as an easier way to get a good solid meal.

But italian dishes are very simple. Traditional spices are things like oregano and basil (maybe some parsley).

Good luck!

R's Mom said...

You get Pizzas at Hotel Raj...I didnt know that...

Note to Self - Next Calcutta trip definitely going to Hotel Raj :)

blinkandmiss said...

Arey, don't call it Raj it is "Homely Raj"! :P

Used to frequent that place a lot and pig out on their SI thali. Didn't know they served pizzas too.

Thinking Cramps said...

It all sounds yum. For Indian red wine, try the Sula Dindori.

dipali said...

Where is this Hotel Homely Raj?
I make a fabulous minestrone zuppa, which I will teach you if you are interested!

MinCat said...

heh i'll make it one of these days and post it.

Suchismita said...

If you are looking for a lasagna, try this one:

These from the same site are quite food too:

Sachinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sachinky said...

Sure, would love to! Till then, here's a snap of said dosa that I still drool over.

As for Italian recipe, wish I could help you but I hate pasta.

Anonymous said...

how about a nice sweet dessert wine- Goan porto! I'm partial to it being from Goa or one of the sula ones. Do you get them where you live?

Tell me what kinds you like and I'll get you some cheapo but good Bay Area ones next time I come down.


Pratiti said...

Hi! I just stumbled across your blog today and spent the greater part of my afternoon reading it. And I'm very glad I did. This bhablet of yours is very adorable. :)

Sue said...

Dea-chan -- Unless I'm prepared to spend a bomb I'll have to make stuff form scratch. Which is OK, that is the point of the meal, that I learn to make the stuff. (Pasta I will not make at home!) Thanks for your extensive suggestions, btw. I might just mail and bug you when I actually do this.

R's Mom -- You must! Tell you what, I'll meet you for a coffee there.

Blink -- True :)

Ana -- Thanks, I'll pass that on.

Dipali -- Yes, I am and yes, you do and yes, you must!

Suchismita -- Thanks, that's helpful.

Sachinky -- :)

D -- I'm clueless about wines. I did like the Alsace Reisling a cousin once gifted us. I don't mind experimenting.

Pratiti -- Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Alsace wines are usually good! Try to find an Italian Pinot grigio, u might like it....unfortunately, I haven't liked any of the Indian wines, I drink sula brut very occasionally, not for a celebration, but perhaps to satisfy the curiosity of a foreign guest about Indian wines. I have earlier served other Indian reds n whites to satisy above mentioned curiosity, with not so great results, though everyone was exceedingly polite always!