Desi Macaroni
45 Min

Desi Macaroni

Pasta is one the most universally loved foods, however, not every culture eats it like the Italians do. A ‘baked’ pasta dish, usually macaroni cooked in a mildly spiced white cheese sauce will often appear on an Indian buffet table laden with curries, sabzi and pilafs. As a kid, I would search for those baked dishes and macaroni was one of my favorite foods to eat. My mother would cook it in a tomato masala, add all kinds of vegetables like peas, beans, or corn and strange as this may sound, we would eat it with flatbreads like roti or paratha. The pasta was always cooked with the masala, never on its own. Here is a macaroni just the way we Desis would like to eat it, in a tomato masala with copious amounts of ginger.
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Cook Time

45 Minutes



Step 1
In a large stockpot or a Dutch oven over high heat, warm the olive oil and pop the mustard seeds. Immediately add the chopped kari leaves, onions, celery, and garlic. Cook on high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have wilted and are a light brown color. Add the turmeric, coriander, red chile powder, black pepper, and salt and almost immediately after, add the tomatoes and ginger. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes then add 5 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
Step 2
Add the pasta, lower the heat, cover the stockpot, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the pasta rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Fold in the spinach, cabbage, and cilantro to serve.
16-ounce bag dry elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
15 to 20 kari leaves, chopped
1 cup minced red onion
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 to 7 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red chile powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups minced ripe tomato (or 2 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes)
1/4 cup minced ginger
6 to 8 cups baby spinach
1 cup sliced red cabbage
1 bunch cilantro

Notes & Variations

  • Depending on the quality and size of the macaroni, it might take longer to cook.
  • Use potatoes like green peas, kale, or zucchini in this pasta.
  • Drizzle a few tablespoons of ghee over the pasta just before serving it.
45 Min

Stock Your Pantry

Pasta + bread = Heaven.

Make yourself a roti or paratha to go with your Desi Macaroni!