Comfort Food: An Analogy
Rain brings about a whole host of feelings that I don’t usually experience at other times of the year. At least not as often. For example, the feeling of not having someone cuddled up with you on a gloomy rainy day. Unable to source a cuddle partner on demand, I decided to cuddle up with something else. You read that right! I cuddle with my food while watching Netflix. That is comfort for me and my cuddling buddy is a bowl full of spicy, comforting pasta.
A common concept, comfort food, is something I wanted to explore more deeply. It is a unifying factor in this world. It is food that transports you to a feeling of home, happiness, calm and of course, comfort. Comfort food is different for each person and everyone has a story about why they feel so connected to their choice of dish.
What matters is not what I actually eat, it’s the way I feel after I eat it. God has blessed us with carbs and that’s something I’m incredibly grateful for. Whether I’m feeling sad, sick, stressed or just out of it, reaching out for a something dense and carb-y is my first reaction. I know this probably isn’t the healthiest way to live, but lucky for me, I’m a pretty happy person most of the time! Anytime I start to feel a little blue, my mind goes straight to a big bowl of pasta, the ultimate comfort food for me.
Pasta is one of the few dishes that can be found on plenty of menus. Its versatility makes it perfect when paired with all kinds of shapes and sauces. “A sauce for every mood” is a statement true to its testament. Many chefs around the world are always looking to reinvent the most basic pasta recipe that was passed down from generations. The simple spicy red sauce taught by Italian nonnas has turned into Smoked Chicken with Gluten Free Activated Charcoal Linguine with Pumpkin Sauce Drizzle available at The Pantry. Yes, activated charcoal pasta sounds great, and I will give it a try, but at the end of the day, I will order my staple: spicy arrabiata pasta with heaps of cheese. It’s comforting, it’s easy and it’s my kind of food.
People are quirky. They will eat what reminds them of comfort. For people who are homesick will eat a hot bowl of dal chaawal. Women during PMS will crave desserts, pizzas and mac and cheese altogether (I understand!) and someone going through a bad breakup will need ice cream or greasy Chinese food to comfort their tender heart. No matter what people are going through in life- food is probably the only constant and comforting factor, making living in this busy city a little easier.
Since it’s a gloomy rainy day, I know I’m not going to get any restaurant to deliver to me, so the only option I have is to cook a wholesome bowl of pasta at home. As my kitchen is fully loaded, here’s what you’ll need to drool over your own pasta at home, with minimum effort so that you’re not out of your comfort zone.
3 cups of whole wheat Penne (I eat for three people)
2 cups of Ragu “Traditional” red sauce bought from your local store
4 cloves of garlic
A handful of torn up basil leaves
A spoon of chili flakes (more if you’re bold)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
A handful of cheese (I obviously add more)
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil your pasta for about 8 minutes in salted and oiled water. The pasta should be al dente to touch (3/4 cooked). Save some of the starchy water the pasta was boiling in. Then on a skillet at low heat, add the olive oil and garlic, and sauté for a 1 minute till golden. Add the sauce to the skillet, and let it simmer for about 3 minutes on low heat. Add in the pasta water after. Add the chili flakes, salt, and pepper. The last thing is pasta, add and mix for 2 minutes till they are fully incorporated, aka yummy. Then comes my favourite part, the cheese! Grate as much as your heart desire and voila, your bowl of happiness is ready.
You may be reading this, but underneath that focus, I can feel your mind wandering off, wondering, where you can get your own bowl of delicious pasta. So, let me save you the trouble and tell you my favorite places in Bombay for pasta, and guarantee you’ll be headed to a food coma next.
- Cincin– Tajarin with Fresh Truffle
- Botticino- Homemade Bucatini Pomodoro
- Romanos– Gnocchi 4 Formaggi
- Smokehouse Deli– Boss Style Aglio Olio
- La Folie Lab– Spaghetti al Pesto
I’m sure you have a dish that can instantly brighten up your day. Tag us on Instagram and perhaps we can wax eloquent about your favourite comfort food!