Cheesy Penne Pasta with Minced Meat & Mashed Potatoes

We Indians are fond of altering recipes from all over the world, and every recipe will definitely have that Indian touch. Maybe that is why we call them: Indi-Chinese, Indi-Italian etc. I always believed that food from a region will never taste the same if we modify it as per our liking. In fact, the worse that can happen is, making it so much in trend that people never really get to know what the actual dish tastes like.

I once visited my in-laws during festival, and me being the eldest in the family, even relatives are quite fond of me (probably because I am the only one who was married out of caste and community, plus I look slightly different than them. Also, I’m kind and loving – please include that as well). My husband’s cousin brother came running to me with a parcel one day and said, ‘bhabhi, you should try this awesome thing. It’s called momo here!”  I stood there looking at the parcel and wondering why people don’t know that momo is a staple food for us, back in our home town?
Anyway, when I took the first bite of the so-called proclaimed ‘momo’, I couldn’t help but spit back the huge chunk right out on my palm! It was filled with garam masala, green chilli and what not!! I looked at my husband with teary eyes (of course because of the chillies) and told him that I really need to get the recipe right before everyone start to believe that momo actually tasted like that. So the following week, I made momo for the family and his cousins.

Okay that was one story. So later when we were back home, I wanted to cook something Italian, and I knew cheese and pasta were going to be a great combination. But since I didn’t want to make a huge deal about it, I decide not to spend a lot, rather, use what I already had at home.
This time I had a packet of penne pasta (one that I had bought about a month back but forgot to use. I do that all the time; buy things that are not really necessary and find them unused someday when I open my cabinet in the kitchen). Of course, I wasn’t going to waste anything for sure! So here is what I experimented on, and got as a result!

Tried making cheesy penne pasta (not a TV or YouTube recipe, please). It didn’t really have a perfect Italian touch, but like I’m always well-known for experimenting on recipes, I took this to another level and now, I don’t really want to call it Italian anymore!

Though this recipe was a little time consuming, the outcome really paid all the hard work! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Penne pasta………………….2 cups
  • Processed cheese…………1/2 cup grated
  • Minced meat………………..100 gms
  • Boiled potatoes…………….1 cup mashed
  • Onions…………………………..1 cup finely chopped
  • Tomatoes………………………1 & 1/2 cup chopped
  • Soy sauce………………………1 tbspn
  • Green chillies……………….2 finely chopped
  • Red chilli powder…………1 tspn
  • Turmeric powder………..1 tspn
  • Black pepper………………..1 tspn crushed
  • Garlic butter…………………1 tspn
  • Oil for cooking……………..3 tbspn
  • Salt………………………………..to taste

Method:

  • Boil the Penne pasta with 1 tspn oil untill soft (cooked) and drain the water in a strainer
  • Heat oil in a pan and add chopped Onion. Stir and let it fry until pink and translucent
  • Add Tomatoes to the onion and saute for 2 mins, sprinkling water in between and then salt, to avoid them from sticking and burning
  • Add turmeric and red chilli powder to it. Keep stirring for some time, then add 1/2 cup water and cover the lid for 2 more mins
  • After 2 mins, add the minced meat and cover the lid to let it cook for more 10 mins, but with occasional stirring
  • Once it is gravy-like, add the soy sauce and mix well. Let it cook for 2 more mins. Make sure that the gravy is not too thick; a fine consistency helps in mixing with less effort
  • Add Penne pasta to the gravy and mix well.
  • Next, spread the grated cheese evenly and cover the lid, keeping the flame on simmer
  • For the boiled potatoes; mash them again with the garlic butter and salt, and then shape them to your liking
  • You can serve this with extra grated cheese or chopped coriander (as you would like it)

If you are going to try this recipe, I’d love to hear about how it went. 🙂

Thanks and have a great time cooking!

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