Black-eyed peas. My favourite bean. In my eyes, rivalled only by rajma (red kidney beans; Oye! My kingdom for a N. Indian rajma, right now!). The only reason I’d ever shove aside a tasty platter of b-e. peas is for Fergie nestling in a plate dressed with nothing but watercress. And I don’t even like watercress, dammit!
1 cup black-eyed peas (soaked overnight)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 tomatoes (other option: canned tomatoes)
1 onion (cut real fine)
2 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped fine)
2 tbsp tomato paste/ purée
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 cups penne
Bung peas into pressure cooker.
Cover with enough water.
Stir in salt.
Boil on medium flame for three whistles.
They should be cooked but firm, not squishy.
Start on the tomato sauce 30-40 minutes before cooking the pasta.
Blanch tomatoes in boiling hot water for a couple of minutes.
Peel off skin, chop in quarters, get rid of seeds.
Heat oil in pan.
Heat should be on low.
Sauté onions till soft and translucent (cover pan; let cook for 10-12 minutes).
Next, garlic and basil.
Give another 5 minutes.
Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste/ purée.
And salt and fresh pepper.
Stir and let it simmer for 15 minutes still on a low flame.
If you want an intense flavour, reduce till you get a nice, thick sauce (the best, in my opinion).
Ideally, start on the pasta when the tomatoes are cooking.
Bring water to boil in a large pot.
Flavour water with a handful of salt (v. important for pasta to acquire some salty flavour; also most of the salt goes away when your drain the pasta).
Put in penne (follow instructions on packet).
When done, set to drain in colander.
Add a few dashes of o. oil in pot.
Return penne to pot and swirl/toss it to give the pasta a coating of o. oil.
Then add the tomato sauce to the penne in the pot.
Don’t drown it.
Rather just ensure the penne has a goodish amount of sauce shreds clinging to it.
Introduce the black-eyes peas.
Gently toss the entire mix so everyone gets to know each other better.
Remove to bowl.
Crack some fresh pepper over it.
Splash a few threads of olive oil.
Garnish with fresh basil.
Note: I know it sounds like a lot of effort but it’s not. It just looks labour-intensive what with the banging about of a zillion pots and pans, which can be quite impressive to male/female guest lingering (for whatever reason) in precincts of kitchen. Another easy black-eyed peas salad is to simply boil the peas like in the above recipe. Drain, add finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, olive oil, salt and pepper. Doesn’t look v. impressive but the taste can win you a smile or two.