After a long hiatus, I finally had the chance to cook something frivolous in the kitchen. This is my own recipe, and I basically just went ahead with my instincts and what my heart desired, and of course what the kitchen and fridge/cupboard lent :)
I'm a big fan of garlic, and since this is a twist of an Italian cuisine, so I left no holds barred when it came to crushing and using this wonderful ingredient, but to each his own, as I always say, so you may do with it/without it as you like.
Pasta in white sauce
About a cup and a half of pasta went into a pot of boiling salted water with a spoonful of oil, and left to cook, with occasional stirring, till the al dente stage. Rinsed with cold water and left to drain.
For the white sauce, first I took some fat chunky garlic cloves, crushed them with the help of a knife, peeled them and then finely crushed them with a mortar and pestle. I swear upon all things divine and heavenly, there never was a more wonderful sound than the one I got to hear... the satisfying, fresh, juicy crunch of the garlic as it went under the knife and then later as I peeled off its papery skin...
Then, I melt a spoonful of butter in little bit of oil, so as not to burn the butter, and added some flour and whisked it till combined. Then added milk into this mixture in little goes, whisking and combining well after each addition. About a cup and a half of milk went in there. Then I seasoned it with salt, white pepper, oregano and the crushed, chopped garlic. Cooked for about 10 minutes and removed from the flame.
For the brown gravy, first I peeled and sliced two onions horizontally so to make beautiful little onion rings. Separated the rings from each other and rinsed them well with cold water and left to soak in some water for a little while. This takes some of the acidic, sharp taste out of the onions and helps them to turn all sweet and delicious in the end. Then in a frying pan, heat some oil, and on a high flame I fried the onion rings, turning them over every few seconds so as not to burn them and the way they slicked with the oil and turned all beautiful and shiny, it was a sight to see I swear. Patiently waited till the onions were soft and had turned whitish brown, then added some sugar to help with the caramelization process. Then, and here is the magic ingredient, some cinnamon powder, and it is this which, I think, gave such a depth to the slow cooking onions, it really makes it worth the extra effort. Fried them around for a bit and then a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, for some extra zing and flavour. Finally, some barbecue sauce and water and this I left to reduce for a couple of minutes.
The best mashed potatoes are made with adding milk instead of butter, plus you'd be cutting on at least some calories, so why not? I boiled three potatoes and peeled and chopped them and mashed them with a fork. Then added some milk and seasoned with salt and black pepper. You may herb or cheese it up if you like. And mix it well, and viola. Ready to be sent into mashed potato heaven.
Quartered four slices of bread in triangles, mixed some butter, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and spread this sparingly onto the triangles and put them in the oven to roast on both sides for a couple of minutes. The most delicious garlic bread you can make at home, guaranteed! Although, I've been itching to make some with cheese too... but this will do fine too :)
And that's it, then I just dished it up, nothing fancy, and even though this was what I really just put in together with what was at hand and following my own instincts, it was pure, satisfying, therapeutic (much needed) cooking,(and eating!) that was thoroughly enjoyable. And since this made for more than generous servings, it makes for great left overs the next day! :) Happy eating!