Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Pasta Night

I love to cook pasta.

Not that I am good at it, and, I am certainly not a good cook to begin with...but pasta remains as one of the simplest one-dish meal I can whip up easily under 30mins. Of course, I cheat...I take the short cut of making use of store bought pasta sauce ;') This is especially so if I am cooking tomato-base pasta dishes. For white creamy ones, I will have to make the sauce from scratch, since I have yet to come across any good ready-made cream sauce :(

Pasta has become a regular dish that I put on our table so much so that sometimes we have it almost on a weekly basis. We never seems to get tired of it. Most importantly, my kids love it. They used to only like cream sauce pasta. Fortunately, they have now acquired the taste of tomato-base sauce, which I think is more healthy. And, it is certainly a good way to get them to eat some tomatoes! Even though I use ready-made sauce, I would always added in some fresh tomatoes to make the dish more wholesome. Although this also means having to do some extra work to peel the tomatoes, not very different from this method, but I think it is really worth the effort. I am slowly learning to be more diligent when it comes to cooking ;)

Before the kids came along, Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce was the only pasta meal I could dish up. I have to give myself a pat on the back, as I have since ventured to making my own cream sauce and have experimented with different types of pasta...such as fettucine, angel hair, fusilli and even animal-shaped pasta. Now, any experienced cooks would probably think what's the big deal...but I do think I have 'come this far' as I picked up cooking mainly through cookbooks. I am very thankful that my family members have never ever complained about me giving them lousy food. They always 'seem' to be enjoying their meals ;)

This is the latest variation I have came up with...Meatballs with Vegeroni(spirals). Having learned how to make juicy meat patties from this hanbagu recipe, I have made hamburgers and meatballs using the same recipe again and again. For this dish, I used an equal amount of ground beef and pork to make the meatballs. While the ground beef gives flavour to the meatballs, I believe the fat from the pork will make them tender and juicy. Besides the other ingredients that goes into the making of the meatballs, such as onions, egg and bread crumbs , I have also added in some finely chopped fresh parsley...simply because I happened to have a bunch on hand. I cooked the meatballs just like the hanbagu and added in a bottle of pasta sauce when the meatballs were all browned on the exterior. I didn't bother to make sure they were cooked through as they would be simmering away in the pasta sauce. To kick in extra flavour to the sauce, I dumped in some fresh parsley and a pinch of mixed spices.

I cooked the pasta with just sea salt in boiling water, and I would usually turn off the heat and drain the pasta when it is just a tiny bit pass al dente. Somehow, we find that this is the 'right' texture for us...to cook till just al dente will be a little too chewy and firm for us.

This has got to be one of the best pasta meal I have cooked. It was simply delicious. The meatballs were full of flavour, and the sauce cling on to the spirals really well. Even my husband who hardly gave any comments on the food I cooked, was nodding with approval. The kids cleaned up their meals in no time.

What else can be more satisfying than watching your love ones tucking in with gusto, to to a hearty, hot homecooked dinner?


Family First said...

You are indeed a good cook now. I love visiting your blogs for all your home recipes. Mind to share your recipe for creamy mushroom sauce? Thanks much.

Anonymous said...


Can you share how you made your pasta sauce ? im love spaghetty and pasta but have to use ready-made sauce cos i just don't know how to make a simple yet nice sauce.


Elin Chia said...

Wa...seeing this makes me hungry leh :)

GFAD said...

Chefs on TV always remark that canned tomatoes are as good as fresh tomatoes, or even better because they are harvested and canned at the peak of ripeness. Don't know if it's true or something they were 'encouraged' to say! ;) But for convenience sake, I like to use peeled whole tomatoes.

I also want to say that I enjoy your posts very much because you share so generously your cooking and baking experiences. It would be a real shame if you decide to stop blogging as you are so detailed in writing down your recipes and give so many tips. I have many a times decided to try out your recipes instead of shying away because you provide such careful instructions. And your photos are really lovely too. Inspires me even more to try out your recipes! Really appreciate all your efforts!


Anonymous said...

wow looks delicious! i do agree that pasta is quite easy to prepare given the instant off-the-shelf ready made sauces so available. :) i get lazy too sometimes.

Angie said...

Hi, which brand of the tomato sauce are you using?

:) said...

Your pasta and meat balls are making me drool....
Oops, 'grrr...' bad stomach, *blush blush*
pardon my naughty tummy.


Ai Lien ^-^ Cook for Happiness said...

The pasta looks as great as Italian one !!! I am really hungry right now after your photos...hahaha..

Anonymous said...

The pasta looks great! Thanks for sharing the link on how to peel tomatoes. The mister and I are both pasta fans, but I only eat the tomato-based whereas he eats the creamy ones. Hen ma fan leh! Haha :P

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know of a very good store bought white cream sauce. Campbell cream of mushroom soup. If you want more mushroom add more and you can also add some bacon in it too. Oh so yummy.


Sheryl Hoh said...


hi! u might wanna join this group.

baking every tuesdays around the world!

Jo said...

yummy...yummy..... looks delicious! enjoy reading your blog and thanks for sharing your recipe.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Family First, I would love to share how I go about making the cream sauce. However, for the time being, there is no proper 'recipe' as I usually dont measure out the ingredients! I will certainly come up with a recipe and share with you soon.

Hi Mico, I am not sure which type of pasta sauce you are refering to? For tomato sauce, I simply use ready-made ones. As for cream sauce, I hope to be able to come up with a recipe and share with you soon :)

Hi Elinluv, thanks!

Hi Ka..t, yes I have read about it from cookbooks too. However, so far I have not tried any canned tomatoes. I am pleased to hear that you like reading my blog although I must say I am not a good cook at all ;p

Hi Missy, yes, I am always lazy when it comes to cooking :D

Hi Angie, my favourite brand is Leggo's Napoletana. It's not too tangy/sour.

Hi My@ddicitions, u can easily whip up a meal like this, if I can cook this, so can you :p

Hi Ai Lien, thanks for your kind words :)

Hi Ovenhaven, you must try to convert him...I have successful done so! My kids are now able to enjoy tomato-based sauce, although cream sauce remains their favourite!

Hi airenchan, I have tried with campbell sauce when I first started. However, once I learned how to cook the cream sauce from scratch, I have never used it ;) I hope I can share the recipe with you soon!

Hi Sheryl, thanks for the link!

Hi Jo, I am pleased to hear that you like reading my blog. Kind words from readers like you really keeps me going :D

Anonymous said...


I miss your baking blogs... Do bake something soon ok.

thecoffeesnob said...

This looks like it might kick the ass of the bolognese pasta my favourite Italian restaurant in Melbourne does. I have bookmarked this- thanks for sharing the recipe :D

By the way, how did your niece's birthday cake turn out?

Anonymous said...

i bet this is one satisfying meal! i love the color and the combination, we love pasta too as a family.

sherlyn said...

keke, I cook pasta almost weekly .. like you say its such an easy one dish meal. Looks like I am much more lazy then you are since I do not peel my tomato, and I use mince meat instead of tasty homemade meatballs. And of cos, the bottled ready made pasta sauce is a must for me.

Lovely pasta .. yum yum.

Anonymous said...

u really have inspired me to start baking...i've tried some of ur recipes and my family loves 'em.promise me u'll keep on going!!thank u so...much for sharing!! - molly