Ah, the ubiquitous and yet humble, macaroni. Or, if you'd prefer, "elbow pasta". I owe many an afternoon and night's satisfaction to this dish. In the rare instance of there being leftovers, I have even managed to make it breakfast. The humble macaroni, in this particular avatar, has been sacrificed to my growling stomach on several occasions. This is one of those recipes that lets me trick myself into eating vegetables. I know, I know. I'm a genius. I will now go on to forever changing your life for the better with this dish. Thank me later. With dessert. Or chocolate. I'm not picky.
This recipe is for two. But the proportions are up to you. Whoohoo! I rhyme, too.
2 cups un-boiled macaroni (Use the trusty measurement of your scooped palm - 1 palm part = 1/2 cup)
4 cups water (I am well aware that one cannot scoop water in one's palm effectively. So, here, you must trust your eyes. The ratio of 1 :2 of macaroni to water will remain constant)
1 tbsp oil (this is for boiling the macaroni)
1 tbsp salt (also for boiling the macaroni)
2 tbsp oil
2-4 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped(trust your inner cook to decide how garlic-y you want this dish to taste)
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 part chopped assorted vegetables/ chicken breast (feeling low on the health factor? Add some more veggies! I used carrots and chicken)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
assorted herbs to taste (ever wonder what to do with those extra sachets of oregano from that pizza place? Now you know)
Always have your meat (if using it), ready at room temperature. By which I mean, thaw your meat out of the freezer for at least half an hour before you begin taking the other ingredients out of storage.
Start with getting a vessel large enough to hold your water. Add the salt and the oil, and bring it to a boil on high heat.
Once your water has started boiling violently, similar to your rage when ignored at any nationalized bank, drop your un-boiled macaroni into the water and give it a stir.
Boil the macaroni for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Any longer, and you'll be looking at a thick mass of starch pulp.
While your macaroni boils, slice your onions, chop your garlic and get your sauce out of the fridge.
Drain your macaroni out through a sieve, and toss the macaroni back into the container you boiled it in. Wash the sieve out and keep it aside. It has served you well.
Heat oil in a kadhai, drop your sliced onions and garlic and fry until your onions soften and your garlic browns to the colour of bread crumbs. Lower the heat down after you add your garlic. Burnt garlic does not taste great.
Add your chopped chicken, a good big pinch of salt and pepper and fry till your chicken is cooked and lightly brown. Add your vegetables after the chicken has cooked and fry until just tender. Turn off the heat at this stage.
Add the tomato sauce, fried chicken and fried vegetables to your macaroni and mix well. Sprinkle in your "assorted herbs" at this point. Et voila!