Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Sociology of Food Cooking Project

baked pasta
You're looking at the dinner I had yesterday.

It was not only super easy to make; it tasted amazing! Well, it's quite hard to go wrong when you're dealing with baked pasta eh? All you need is some cheese, pasta, some ingredients and you're ready to go.

This baked pasta was the work of me and my group of friends from my Sociology of Food tutorial. Our task was to cook up a meal with a $25 budget. Sounds simple? Yes, it was that simple and we spent only $20! How cool is that? All five of us, Jason, Kathy, Lina and Suk Ching met at Bedok MRT and went grocery shopping at NTUC before heading to my place to cook.

I don't have a fancy-looking kitchen but well, it's quite well-equipped and it's good enough. This project was pretty fun. I enjoyed myself and I'm sure the rest did. Everyone chipped in. Some chopped the ingredients, while others helped prepare the other ingredients:

Kathy chops the tomatoes

That's Kathy chopping the tomatoes!

Here's Lina slicing the ham and Jason in the background checking on the boiling pasta:

lina slices the ham

It didn't take us long to prepare all the ingredients because there were 5 pairs of hands.

Washing up was fast too, and hey hey, here's Jason helping out Kathy:

washing dishes

Anyway, I was so busy I didn't have time to take that many pictures so what you see here might not be a fair representation of who did what. But all I can say is that everyone had a part to play and it certainly was fun finding out who is good at what.

By the time the pasta was ready, we were so hungry but managed to bear a while for a group shot with our glorious pasta:

limelight on pasta
From left: Kathy, Jason, Lina, Suk Ching & Me

Our baked pasta was the highlight that evening! Cue spotlight!

So there you have it, the fruits of our labour, our baked pasta:

pork basil fried rice

Yummy. The pasta was delicious and we were all happy. Thanks guys for all the help! It was a good end to the evening.

To me, it didn't felt like a project at all. haha, or maybe because I am so used to cooking? Anyhow, we did a lot of substitution for this dish and I think it sure taught everyone how anyone can be creative when whipping up a meal.

The original recipe called for rigatoni but they didn't have it at this NTUC outlet so we settled for elicoidali. I did some research and found out that they are soooo many types of tubular pasta!. There's ziti, tortiglioni, elicoidali, rigatoni, manicotti, paccheri, etc. I was quite intrigued and really amazed. In fact, I can't really tell the difference between elicoidali, ziti and tortiglioni because they're so similar! Man, I really am loving the variety of pasta. So creative the Italians!

Our recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit's Baked Rigatoni with Ham, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese recipe. We did a number of substitutions because some ingredients couldn't be found at that NTUC outlet - like the feta cheese. We replaced it with parmesan instead and changed the ham to chicken ham because Lina's Muslim. Then we added button mushrooms to the pasta for more bite and used oregano instead of thyme. So this is our final recipe:

Baked Chicken Ham Pasta

Ingredients:
12 ounces (340g) elicoidali
1 1/2 cups diced chicken ham (about 8 ounces, 230g)
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped button mushrooms
1 1/4 cup grated parmesan (125g)
1 cup (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces or 113g)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup whipping cream

Method:
Preheat oven to 375°F/190 degrees celcius.
Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Once pasta is done, drain it and transfer to the baking dish.
Mix in ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesan, mozzarella cheese and oregano. Pour cream over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to blend. Cover with foil.
Bake pasta 15 minutes. Uncover and stir to coat pasta evenly with melted cheeses. Cover again. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes longer.

Serves 6.

*Note* You can add more cheese if you like. Some of us felt that we could do with more cheese! :)

5 comments:

michie said...

whoa looks goood! I love to use penne for baked pasta in tomato cream sauce. Im a fan of tomato cream! Dinner tonight for me is pasta! Yum!

mariya said...

whee! reminds me of my endeavour when i did that mod... 3 yrs ago! boy how time flies. my group did a pasta dish too! sthg with tuna and mushrooms i think.

Lina said...

MORE CHEESE PLEASE! Haha it was awesome fun doing the pasta dish. Am craving for more! :)

My Space said...

The food looks good!

Anonymous said...

Do you need to whip the cream before pouring it over?

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