Monday, August 18, 2008

Culinary Experiments, 1

I've turned to a little cooking the past few days since I am getting bored of buying too much cooked food. Last night, some of the boys "ambushed" my place (naturally, I invited them) and since I didn't have a lot of time to prepare, I had to make do with the ingredients I had in the house.

Here's my recipe for "INSTANT CARBONARA":


1 kg spaghetti noodles
3 cans tuna flakes in sunflower oil (185g can)
1 big can evaporated milk
250g fresh button mushrooms (or canned if none, drained)
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, diced
1 medium sized green bell pepper, diced
1 large bulb garlic, or at least eight cloves, crushed and diced
1 medium-sized white onion, diced
200g chicken hotdog, sliced into strips
2 tbsps sunflower margarine
Cooking oil
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste, sugar (optional)
Two cheese slices or grated cheese (parmesan cheese preferred)
One egg, slightly beaten

Pasta preparation

The normal ratio for water to pasta is 4 liters to 500 grams, but you can get away with 2:1 if you manage things correctly. For this recipe, I went with 2:1, and added a tablespoon of salt and two tablespoons of oil.

Bring the water to a vigorous boil (together with the salt/oil) before adding all of the pasta that can reasonably fit in the pan. Make sure of all the pasta is submerged and then stir to make sure nothing sticks together. After about 10-12 minutes (max of 15 depending on the brand), remove from heat and drain the pasta through a colander. Wash the pasta quickly with tap water, and then add a little margarine or butter and stir through the cooked noodles. (For this recipe, I put in a little Italian seasoning with the noodles while stirring in the butter).

Sauce preparation

Start your pan on medium heat before putting in the margarine. As soon as it bubbles, saute the garlic lightly before putting in the onions. Cook then to a light brown color before putting in the tuna. You can use Spanish-style tuna if you want extra spice but having plain flavor is better so that you can season to your desired taste. Mix well before adding the bell pepper and the mushrooms. If you are using canned mushrooms, cook the bell peppers well before adding. Add about half a glass of water to the sauce, cover and let simmer for five to seven minutes.

After simmering, add the hotdog strips and the evaporated milk together. If I had a choice I would have had boiled chicken breast instead of the hotdogs, but this is what I had to work with. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar.

Before removing from heat, stir in the egg and cheese.

Serves 6-8.

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