Friday, June 15, 2007

Angel hair pasta with minced pork, swiss brown mushrooms in spicy tomato sauce

Had the spur-of-the-moment urge to cook something to eat and shoot while I was doing some grocery shopping on Wednesday. Nowadays when I cook, I think whether the dish will taste and also look good in pictures, so I will always bear that in mind when I shop for ingredients.

Here's a simple and easy pasta that I cooked for lunch yesterday (Thursday June 14, 2007) that can be ready in about 30 mins (including preparation, but not including picture taking! I only had the luxury of 30 mins before I had to quickly eat and rush for an interpreting assignment).

If you don't like pork (or can't eat it due to religious reasons), you can substitute with minced lamb, beef, or even prawns, seafood and sliced sausages!


Angel hair pasta enough for 2 persons (or you can use linguine, penne or other types of pasta instead)
10 pieces of baby swiss brown mushrooms (the small ones are firmer), sliced thinly
100 g of minced pork (marinated with pinch of salt)
1 medium onion (thinly chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped)
1/2 can of chopped tomatoes (Italian Roma tomatoes)
3 sprigs of Italian parsley (coarsely chopped)
3 tablespoon of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
salt and organic cane sugar to taste
1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes
pinch of dried thyme
4 pieces of bay leaves
shaved parmesan cheese


1. Heat olive oil in a deep pan, put in garlic and onion and fry for about one minute, add thyme and bay leaves, chili flakes then minced pork. Fry for another 2 minutes and add the mushrooms. Leave for 2 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes.

2. Leave to simmer using low heat for about 10 mins or when the sauce is reduced.

3. While waiting for the sauce to be ready, boil water in a pot for the pasta. Put in the pasta after the water has boiled and add a pinch of salt to the boiling water. The pasta should be ready in about 3 - 5 mins (al dente). Scoop out the pasta and pour a little olive oil over them so that they wont stick together.

4. Check on the sauce, add the chopped Italian parsley and put in the salt and sugar to taste. Pour the sauce over the pasta on a plate and serve immediately with remaining chopped Italian parsley and shaved parmesan cheese.

Note: I learned this from a friend: Never used canned tomato sauce or puree to cook tomato-based pasta! You can either use canned chopped Roma tomatoes (long, oval shape), canned whole peeled Roma tomatoes or canned cherry tomatoes. Well you can always make it fresh but I find that it's too expensve (fresh Roma tomatoes cost a bomb!) and troublesome. I find that the best results come from using chopped tomatoes and it's more convenient too (already chopped, if you use whole peeled tomatoes, you have to mash them up in the pan).