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.