This dish with garlicky cream sauce with peperoncino flakes and aged cheddar cheese is delicious and healthy. You can use any pasta though I have used macaroni. The broccoli and capsicum give it a lovely fresh green colour.
Macaroni pasta 2 cups, cooked al dente
Broccoli florets 1 cup
Capsicum 1 medium, sliced
Mushrooms 200 g, sliced
Garlic 10 cloves, minced
All-purpose flour 1 tbsp
Milk 1 cup
Fresh cream 1 cup
Salt to taste
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Peperoncino flakes 1 tbsp
Cheddar cheese 1 cup, grated
Olive oil 2 tbsps
Butter 30 g
Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy bottomed frying pan.
Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Add the mushrooms and fry till all the moisture evaporates. When the mushrooms turn brown, add the broccoli and capsicum. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the flour and fry for a minute. Add the milk and stir till it thickens. Add the salt and pepper powder.
Add the cream and mix well.
Add the pasta and fold it into the sauce. See that the pasta is completely covered by the sauce.
Garnish with cheese, peperoncino flakes and coriander sprigs.
A restaurant that was a favourite with us in Singapore was Aglio Olio. We would go there two to three times a week. The restaurant offered pasta with a Singaporean twist through the use of chilli padi. I tried various permutations and combinations till I succeeded in getting the taste right.
(Serves 3 persons)
Penne pasta 1 cup cooked al dente
Cream 1 cup
Mushrooms 250 g, sliced
Onion 1 small, chopped
Garlic 3 cloves, minced
Chilli padi 5, chopped (or 3 green chillies chopped)
Coriander leaves chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Peperoncino flakes 1 tsp
Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup, grated fine
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Don’t let it smoke.
Add the onion and chillies. Reduce the heat and fry till the onion becomes transparent.
Add the garlic and fry till the raw smell is gone.
Add the mushroom and sauté till the mushrooms are cooked. Add 1/4 cup water.
When it boils, add the cream. Stir well.
Add the salt, pepper powder and peperoncino flakes. Stir and add the pasta. Switch off the heat.
Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves and cheese.
A comfort food and a favourite with my son throughout his schooldays was Mac and cheese. I used to make it three or four times a week. I use sharp English mustard and chilli flakes, which impart a unique flavour to the dish.
Elbow pasta 2 cups All-purpose flour 3 tbsps Butter 2 tbsps Olive oil 2 tbsps Salt to taste Pepper powder 1 tsp English mustard 1 tbsp Milk 1/2 litre Cheddar cheese 1 cup, grated Italian herbs 1 tbsp, dried Peperoncino chilli flakes 1 tbsp
Boil 6 cups of water with 2 tbsps of salt. Add the pasta and cook till al dente. Drain.
Add the butter and olive oil to a heavy bottomed saucepan. I use Amul salted butter as I feel it gives a better flavour to the dish.
Add the flour and sauté on low flame till the raw smell of the flour is gone.
Add the milk gradually, whisking all the time. Add salt, pepper and mustard. Add the Italian herbs. Cook till the sauce thickens. It should not take more than three minutes.
Layer the pasta, white sauce and cheese in an oven proof dish. My trusted dish that I bought from John Lewis in London almost 15 years ago is the one I always use to make mac and cheese. Sprinkle the peperoncino chilli flakes on top.
This book is like a trusted friend to me. I love the range of dishes it offers — from salads to rice dishes to pasta dishes, cannelloni and lasagne. The recipes are incredibly easy to follow and ingredients are simple and available easily.
The introduction is extremely useful as it offers tips on how to choose the right pasta or kind of rice for each dish, how to cook them and even how to gauge how much is needed according to the number of people at the table. It also has recipes for the basic sauces including pesto and how to make fresh pasta. This book took out all my fear of making fresh pasta and inspired me to make my own ravioli and gnocchi.
Some of my favourite recipes from this book are Coronation Prawn and Pasta Salad, the Insalata Mista made with fresh market produce and a light oil and vinegar dressing, Tomato and Mushroom Risotto, Stuffed Rice Croquettes made using leftover meat gravy, Pasta alla Marinara with Ginger with a lovely rich seafood flavour, and Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pancakes. If you are new to gourmet Italian cooking, start with the Potato Gnocchi. It is easy but delicious.