Category Archives: Pasta Recipes

Chili Con Carne Mac and Cheese

Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

One of my dreams is to one day own a mac and cheese food truck!

You can just about make any flavour and then toss it through macaroni and bake it.  Imagine all the things you like, then mix it in with macaroni.  For example, I love chili and chili con carne, mix it in with macaroni, put cheese on top and and bake it in the oven and you have chili mac and cheese.  You can also have it cold like a salad like they do in the Philippines.  There they have a salad with macaroni, its usually with pineapple, ham, palm seeds, cheddar cheese and coconut dressed with mayonnaise or sour cream, sounds weird but bloody tasty stuff.

Flavours are endless really, vego’s can have Napolitana sauce and cheese or use three types of cheeses and mix it with some mustard and a little cream and bake it with some nice cheddar on top.  My favourite flavour that I’ve come up with is roasted, crispy pork belly all chopped up and tossed in a dry pan to crispen up a little more, finish it some strips smokey roasted capsicums (peppers for non Aussies), roasted red onions and chipotle sauce, toss through macaroni and bake in the oven with some stinky cheese like an Epoisses or Taleggio.  Decadence with all the good things in one plate!  Served with crushed avocado on top and sour cream and boy, you’ve got a dish no one will turn their backs on.

Try this out for starters and see what the fuss is all about.  I am using the chili recipe from the a previous blog to make things a little easier or if you make that chili recipe and wonder what you can do with any left overs.

If you cook up a braise dish like osso bucco or lamb shank or even a curry, try cutting the meaty bits down a little more and toss it through macaroni, add cheese that closely fits its flavour profile on top and bake it and who knows, maybe you can come up with your original mac and cheese!

Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 8

 

700gr Raw Macaroni

100gr Salt

500gr Alexandrina Cheddar Cheese – grated

1 Recipe of Chili Con Carne Recipe – previous articles

 

Method

For the Macaroni

  1. Place ten litres of water to boil with the salt
  2. Once boiling, add the macaroni and cook until al dente.  This is when you bite into a pasta, it has some resistance to the teeth but no crunch
  3. Staring in a colander and run cold water through, set aside until needed

 

To Finish:

  1. Pre Heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Using a large pot, place the chili con carne sauce and heat up until simmering
  3. Add the blanched pasta and stir through for about 5 minutes
  4. Place into a baking dish
  5. Sprinkle the cheese on top until “all” the surface area is covered, this will inhibit the pasta from getting dry
  6. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven or until the cheese is golden brown
Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

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Vego Pasta with Broccolini & Goats Cheese

Pasta is one of those items you should always have in the pantry.  Instant pasta is so easy to cook and there are so many good quality “fresh” dried pastas in the market, you can really have a good choice between almost every type of pasta from your normal spaghetti right through to lasagne sheets.

There is another use for lasagne sheets other than in lasagne’s.  When I was a young apprentice, I remember how much it surprised me when I was shown another use for lasagne sheets.  The chef cooked a chef’s meal by simply heating a pan really hot, cooking lasagne sheets, ripping it into smaller strips and browning it in a pan until it’s slightly “crispy” then adding all the other ingredients through for flavour such as the shallots, garlic and chilli.  Simple dish, quick and using only the ingredients available in the kitchen.

Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult.  You make it as easy or hard as you want.  The recipes in this blog are a mixture between simple, right through to the adventurous.  This vegetarian recipe is definately on the more simple side of the scale.  In later blogs, I will go through making fresh pasta, a skill that is so useful to have for an aspiring home cook!

Photo by Jun Pang

Rag Pasta with Forrest Mushrooms, Broccolini, Peas, Almonds & Goats Curd

Serves 4

300gr Lasagne Pasta Sheets

100gr Butter

2 Shallots – Peeled and Sliced

4 Cloves garlic – Peeled and Minced

1 Large Red Chilli – Deseeded and finely sliced

60gr Dried Forrest Mushroom Mix – Reconstituted in boiling water, strained

100gr Button Mushrooms – Sliced 1mm thick

100gr Fresh(frozen) Peas

120gr Fresh Broad Beans – Blanched and peeled

2 Bunches of Broccolini

120gr Goats Curd

30gr Almonds – Roughly Chopped

100gr Pecorino Cheese

Extra Virgin olive Oil

Seas Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Method

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil with about 2 table spoons of salt in it.  Once boiling, place the pasta sheets into the water.  Cook until al dente or with a little “firmness” when you bit into the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat up a large pan and add a little olive and all the butter on medium high heat.
  3. Add the chillies and shallots and cook until the shallots turn slightly clear.
  4. Add the garlic and stir through, cooking for a further minute.
  5. Add all the mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes, continually stirring.
  6. Just before you strain the pasta, place the peas, broad beans and broccolini in the same pot as the pasta and cook for about 30 seconds.
  7. Strain the pasta, peas, broad beans and broccolini.  Slightly rip the pasta into smaller strips.
  8. Once drained, add the pasta and vegetables to the pan.  Toss the pasta through the mushroom mix.  At this point you may want to add cream if you want to be lavish!!  Once mixed through, turn off the heat and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  9. Using a fine grater or micro plane, grate the pecorino into the pasta.  Stir the cheese in.
  10. Divide the pasta into four equal serves and dollop goats curd on top with a sprinkling of chopped almonds.

Photo by Jun Pang


Spaghetti Alle Vongole

I love easy and tasty recipes.  People always ask me “so, do you cook at home?”.  I do, I love cooking at home, in fact I get a lot of joy cooking for myself.  I don’t have difficult customers or ungrateful people to deal with.  I can be free in my kitchen and with that freedom comes clarity.  I know exactly what I want, I can see how I can cook it and I prepare the dish with great ease because I get to play, I get to cook what ever “I” want.

I also get enjoyment cooking for my close friends, huge satisfaction actually. They’re honest with me, they tell me if it is “really good” or “it might need some work” but generally, good food and wine and even better company are the best ingredients to work with.

Photo by Jun Pang

I love this type of pasta where all you need is boiling water and a frying pan (I cook with a small wok, typical Asian, cook every thing in a wok!).  Very little chopping and very little finesse with knife work is needed.  I can cook this in 20 minutes flat and if you guys at home can’t complete this in 45 minutes, there is something seriously wrong!  Add vegetables like broccolini, perfect combination with this recipe.  Add prawns if you’d like.  Enjoy this with good parmesan cheese and sprinkling of dried chili flakes.  Have crusty bread near by to sop up all the wonderful juicy bits!

Photo by Jun Pang

Spaghetti Alle Vongole

Serves 2

500gr packet of Spaghetti

Olive Oil

5 cloves Garlic – finely chopped

4 Large Red Chilli – de-seeded and finely sliced

1kg Vongole

1 Cup White Wine

1 Bunch Parsley – finely chopped

Sea Salt

White Pepper

Method

  1. Place about 5 liters of water on the boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt into the water
  2. Add the pasta to the water and cook until aldente, with a little resistance when you bite into the pasta but with no crunch
  3. Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat up a large frying pan with deep sides on high heat for about 2 minutes
  4. Add the a splash of olive oil
  5. Add the garlic and chilli and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute on high heat
  6. Add the white wine, then place a lid on top of the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the vongole opens up
  7. Take the lid off, make sure the vongole has had enough time to open up, then strain the pasta and add it into the frying pan
  8. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and toss the pasta though thoroughly.  Toss chopped parsley
  9. Divide into 2 bowls and serve with chopped parsley

Photo by Jun Pang

Vongole – Italians call it “vongole”, Aussies call it “sand cockles” and the rest of the world call it a “clam”.  It is a bivalve mollusk, harvested on tidal flats.  They range in colour from light yellow through to light brown.  Unique flavour, light and sweet seafood flavours, like a sweeter, lighter flavour of mussels.

The vongole being steamed open

Toss the pasta through

Plate up


Seafood Linguini

Photo by Jun Pang

Linguini with Fresh Seafood, Parsley and Herbs

Serves 4

500gr Packet Linguini

250gr Prawns – Peeled and de-veined

500gr Mussels

450gr Calamari – Cleaned and Scored on the inside, cut into cubes

1 Brown Onion – Finely Diced

4 Cloves Garlic – Finely Minced

2 Large Red Chillies – De-seeded and Sliced

400ml White Wine

6 Tomatoes – De-seeded and Diced 4mm square

80gr Butter

1 Bunch Parsley – Finely Chopped

Basil

Extra Virgin olive Oil

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Method

  1. Take about 6 litres of water to boil with about 4 tablespoon of salt in it.  Once boiled, separate the pasta into the water, making sure the water is always “moving” to avoid the pasta from sticking together.
  2. Whilst that is going, heat up a large pan with a tight fitting lid (or pot), large enough to fit 4 serves of cooked pasta on medium high heat.
  3. Once the pan is hot, add the mussels and closely followed by the whit wine.  Put the lid on and allow the mussels to steam open.
  4. Once opened, strain the mussels reserving the liquid.  Allow to cool slightly and pick the mussels meat out if you prefer.
  5. Heat up the same pan and add olive oil.  Once really hot, add oil then calamari and sauté really quickly, followed by the prawns.  Slightly brown on high heat and then set aside
  6. Heat the same pan up for the third time on medium heat and add oil, onions, garlic and chilli.  Saute until the onions clear the ingredients are aromatic.
  7. Add the tomatoes and toss through, followed by all the seafood.
  8. Add reserved mussel liquid and butter and bring to a slight boil.
  9. By this time the pasta should be al dente or it has a little bite/resistance to it, but no crunch.
  10. Strain pasta and add to the sauce. Toss through until evenly coated and season with black pepper and sea salt.  Add the chopped parsley and ripped basil.
  11. Divide into four serves and drizzle extra virgin olive oil.

This is an easy pasta dish that incorporates seafood with fresh ingredients.  It’s light, tasty and perfect for the warmer months are hopefully just around the corner!!

Photo by Jun Pang


Spag Bog……………

Photo by Jun Pang

Budget Spaghetti Bolognese

Serve 4

¼ Cup Vegetable Oil

500gr Lean Minced Meat

1 Large Brown Onion – peeled and finely sliced

1 heaped tblspn Garlic – peeled and finely chopped

4 tblspn Tomato Paste

6×375 ml Tins of Chopped Tomatoes

Sea salt

Cracked Black Pepper

1x500gr Packet Spaghetti

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

  1. Heat up a large pot on high heat and allow to heat up for 5 minutes (almost smoking)
  2. Add half the oil into the pot closely followed by the minced meat
  3. “Seal” the mince by stirring it through in the every hot pot.  It should break up into small “crumb’ looking bits of mince.
  4. Once sealed, take it out of the to and set aside in a bowl for the time being
  5. Place the same pot back on high heat and the remainder of the oil
  6. Add the onions and saute until translucent and smells “sweet”
  7. Add the garlic and sauté for about 8 minutes
  8. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring continuously
  9. Add the sealed mince meat and stir through
  10. Add the tinned tomatoes and cook on the lowest setting for 2 hours, stirring every five minutes or so to avoid it from catching on the bottom and burning
  11. Whilst the sauce is cooking, place about 6 litres of water to the boil
  12. Add 2 table spoons of salt in the pot followed by the packet of pasta
  13. Cook until al dente, to the bite so when you bite into the pasta it should be soft but with a little resistance.  Once this is achieved, strain and place in individual bowls
  14. Check the seasoning on the Bolognese, adjust with black pepper and sea salt
  15. place the sauce on top of the spaghetti
  16. Drizzle Olive Oil to finish

It’s simple and I am sure most people know how to make Bolognese sauce but I know that sometimes us chefs focus on the more fancier things to cook forgetting that sometimes some people don’t know what a kitchen looks like!! This is perfect introduction to cooking and hey it’s a survival dish for most Uni students, I know it was for me when I was young apprentice!!

 Photo by Jun Pang