Nothing beats the simplicity of pasta when it comes to cooking on a busy weeknight. Here are 18 ideas ranging from a creamy carbonara to a local-inspired chilli crab ravioli.
By Jeremy Cheok, co-owner of Jam private dining. Blanch 10 tiger prawns (shelled, deveined and halved) in boiling water, until they turn opaque. Plunge them into cold water, drain and set aside. Dissolve 1 tbsp of sugar in 2 tbsp of water from blanching the prawns. Add 4 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 kaffir lime leaf (finely chopped) and a pinch of salt and pepper to make the dressing. Pour it over 24 cherry tomatoes (quartered) and chill for 30min. Mix the tomatoes, prawns and 1 ripe avocado (cut into pieces and tossed with lemon juice) with the cooked conchiglie. By Jeremy Cheok, co-owner of Jam private dining INGREDIENTS For chicken marinade 2 cloves garlic 1 tsp of dried rosemary 1 chilli padi 1 tbsp light soya sauce 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil A pinch of salt and pepper 2 chicken thighs, deboned 2 chicken drumsticks, deboned 1 tin anchovy fi llets 2 tbsp cooking oil 2 large red onions, diced 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 400g vermicelli, cooked and drained 1 cup of water from the pasta pot A handful of arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces DIRECTIONS 1 Blend the ingredients for the marinade into a smooth paste. Spread it evenly on the chicken and under the skin. Chill for at least an hour. 2 Preheat the oven to 140 deg C. Bake the chicken for 25min, then grill it to crisp the skin. 3 In a frying pan over low heat, crumble the anchovy fillets into the oil. Add the onions and cook for 10min. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 5min. 4 Add the vermicelli and cook for 1min. Add the water from the pasta pot and cook until almost dry. 5 Mix in the arugula and serve with the chicken. By Adrian Fun, host mentor at Institute of Culinary Arts, Shatec Institutes INGREDIENTS For vegetable stock 1 carrot, cut into chunks 1 celery, cut into chunks 2 onions, cut into small chunks 2 cloves garlic, crushed 800ml water 1 tbsp cooking oil 1 packet Prima Taste Chili Crab Paste 150g crab meat 3 eggs, beaten (set aside ½ cup to seal the ravioli) 24 prawn dumpling skins DIRECTIONS 1 Simmer all the ingredients for the vegetable stock in the water until the vegetables are soft. Strain and set aside. 2 Heat the oil in a pan. Cook the chilli crab paste over low heat until fragrant. 3 Add 150ml of the vegetable stock and simmer until it thickens slightly. Add the crab meat and cook for 5min. Remove the crab meat and set aside. 4 Add the eggs slowly into the pan in a circular motion and turn up the heat. When the eggs are cooked, turn off the heat and set aside the sauce. 5 To make the ravioli, sandwich 1 tsp of the cooked crabmeat between 2 pieces of prawn dumpling skin. Press lightly to remove all the air between the skins and seal the edges with the beaten egg. Cook the ravioli in a pot of salted boiling water and drain. 6 Add the ravioli to the cooked chilli crab sauce and combine over high heat until well mixed. By Joe Soo, Chef de Cuisine at Raffles Courtyard, Raffles Hotel Singapore. Saute 1 dried red chilli and garlic in 200ml of extra virgin olive oil until fragrant. Add 200g of tomatoes (skin removed, deseeded and chopped) and cook until softened. Add 200g of lobster (cut into parts), a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and the lobster turns red. Add the cooked spaghetti, toss and top with basil to garnish. By Angelo Ciccone, restaurant chef at Basilico, The Regent Singapore INGREDIENTS 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 2 dried red chillies 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30g bacon or pancetta 4 large portobello or porcini mushrooms, sliced 8 cherry tomatoes 220g wagyu sirloin steak, cut into bitesized pieces 150g tomato puree 400g rigatoni (tube-shaped) pasta, cooked and drained 60g smoked mozzarella 20g parmesan cheese 80g burrata cheese* 20g basil 10g parsley Salt and pepper, to taste DIRECTIONS 1 Preheat the oven to 190 deg C. 2 Saute the garlic, onions and dried red chillies in heated olive oil until fragrant. 3 Add the bacon, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and cook for 2min. 4 Add the wagyu sirloin and toss to mix well. 5 Add the tomato puree and cook for another 5min. 6 Place the pasta, tomato mixture, cheeses, basil and parsley in an oven-proof dish. Add the salt and pepper. Bake for 10min. *Burrata cheese can be found at Culina, or you can substitute it with Parmesan cheese. By Megumi Wettstein, co-owner of Restore Living. Mix 200g of mentaiko (spicy cod roe) with 1 1/2 tbsp of softened butter in a big bowl. Fry 1 clove of garlic (sliced) until fragrant. Add cup of shimeiji mushrooms, 2 tbsp of sake, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for 1min. Add this and cooked spaghetti to the bowl of mentaiko and butter and mix well. Top with dried seaweed. By Hellene Fok, marketing manager. Melt 2 blocks of Boursin cheese* in a pan over low heat. Add 1 cup of ham, cup of chicken broth and stir to combine. Add cup of pure cream, cup of milk and cook until it thickens slightly. Mix well with the cooked fettucine. *Available at Cold Storage and Fairprice Finest. By Hellene Fok, marketing manager INGREDIENTS 1 shallot, chopped 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes ½ cup vodka 2/3 cup chicken broth A handful of dill and thyme, chopped 400g salmon fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces 2/3 cup pure cream 400g penne, cooked and drained DIRECTIONS 1 Saute the shallots until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and vodka and cook for 2min. 2 Add the chicken broth, dill and thyme and mix well. Add the salmon fi llet and cook for 5min. 3 Add the pure cream and cook for another 2min. Mix well with the penne. By Lino Sauro, executive chef at Gattopardo INGREDIENTS For egg yolk sauce 4 egg yolks 100ml President or Emborg cooking cream 20g grated parmesan cheese A pinch of salt and black pepper 2 cloves garlic, sliced 40g mixture of fi nely chopped celery, carrot and onions 2 artichokes, sliced thinly* 2 tbsp olive oil 40ml white wine 120ml chicken stock Salt and pepper, to taste 160g paccheri (large tube-shaped pasta), boiled for 15min and drained 4 sprigs parsley, chopped 4 pieces smoked pork jowl or pancetta (available at Culina) 40g pecorino cheese A dash of black pepper DIRECTIONS 1 Whisk the ingredients for the egg yolk sauce in a mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water until the mixture thickens. Set aside. 2 Saute the garlic, celery, carrot and onion mixture and artichokes in heated oil until the garlic and onions are fragrant. 3 Add the white wine and cook until slightly reduced – about 20sec. 4 Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper. Mix in the paccheri and parsley. 5 Pour the egg yolk sauce on a plate. Place the cooked paccheri on it and top with the pork jowl, pecorino cheese and black pepper. *Cut off the artichoke stem and remove the outer petals. Halve the artichoke and remove the hairy heart in the centre of each side. Slice thinly and place the slices in water with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. By Domenico Piras, head chef at Pontini, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel INGREDIENTS 90ml extra virgin olive oil 3 ice cubes 80g basil leaves 3 cloves garlic 40g grated parmesan cheese 20g grated pecorino cheese Salt and pepper, to taste 120g French beans, cut into 1cm-pieces 200g potatoes, peeled and cut into 0.5cm-cubes 320g linguine, cooked and drained DIRECTIONS 1 To make the pesto, combine the olive oil, ice cubes, basil and garlic in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the cheeses and salt and pepper. 2 Cook the French beans in boiling water for 2min. 3 Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 5min. 4 Toss the linguine with the French beans, potatoes and pesto. By Angelo Ciccone, restaurant chef at Basilico, The Regent Singapore INGREDIENTS 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 red chilli, chopped 2 tinned salted anchovy fi llets 1 tbsp olive oil 100g king crab, cleaned and cut into parts 100g tiger prawn, shelled and deveined 100g white clam, cleaned 30ml white wine 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered ½ small broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces 400g linguine, cooked and drained A handful of parsley, chopped DIRECTIONS 1 Saute the garlic, chilli and anchovy fi llets in heated oil in a frying pan until fragrant. 2 Add the crab, prawns and clams and cook for another 2min, until the clams open. (Discard any clams that don’t open). Add the white wine and cook over low heat until it evaporates. 3 Add the tomatoes, broccoli and cook for 5min. 4 Toss the linguine in the sauce and top with the parsley. By Luca Carrino, head chef of Capricci. Place 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 4 cloves of crushed garlic in a 60 deg C oven for 20min to flavour the oil. Pan-fry 20g of breadcrumbs lightly in olive oil. Remove and set aside. Add the garlic-flavoured oil into the pan, add the cooked spaghetti and 120g of raisins. Add 5 tbsp of water from cooking the pasta and toss over medium heat until almost dry. Top with 80g of almond flakes, 20g of grated parmesan cheese, 2 chopped chilli padi and chopped parsley. By Lino Sauro, executive chef at Gattopardo INGREDIENTS 2 cloves garlic, sliced 8 cherry tomatoes, halved 4 stalks basil, chopped 260g frozen Alaskan king crab, thawed and cut into parts 40ml brandy 140ml canned lobster bisque A pinch of salt and pepper Squid ink pasta, cooked and drained A handful of parsley, chopped DIRECTIONS 1 Saute the garlic, cherry tomatoes, basil and Alaskan king crab until the garlic is fragrant. 2 Add the brandy and cook for 10sec. Add the lobster bisque, salt and pepper and cook until it’s slightly reduced. 3 Add the squid ink pasta and toss well. Top with the parsley. By Ming Tan, co-owner of Jam private dining INGREDIENTS ½ cup pine nuts 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3 large leeks, light green portions, thinly sliced Salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp white wine 1 sprig fresh dill, fi nely chopped 2 tbsp sour cream 2 tsp lime zest 250g fusilli, cooked and drained DIRECTIONS 1 Lightly toast the pine nuts in a frying pan for 2min, stirring constantly. Set aside. 2 Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4min, turning constantly, until the leeks are soft and translucent. 3 Add the white wine and cook for 3min on low heat. Transfer into a bowl and mix with the dill, sour cream and lime zest. 4 Mix into the cooked pasta and top with pine nuts. By Boris Leong, chef at Chef B Pasta. Saute 2 chopped onions and 1 stalk of lemongrass (use lower portion only, bruised) for 5min. Add 3 cloves of garlic (chopped) and 400g of Prima Taste or Woh Hup laksa paste and cook for 10min. Add 200ml of chicken stock and simmer for 10min. Add 400ml of cooking cream and cook until the sauce thickens. Mix in the cooked spaghetti. Pan-sear 8 tiger prawns until golden-brown and place over the pasta. By Domenico Piras, head chef at Pontini, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Saute 1 sliced onion and 120g of streaky bacon for 3min. Add 160g of sliced button mushrooms, 20g of seedless black olives, 200g of halved cherry tomatoes, and cook for 3min. Mix in a handful of basil leaves and the cooked fusili. Top with 60g of grated parmesan cheese. By Nina Siew, creative liaison officer. Saute 5 cloves of chopped garlic and 3 sliced chillies until fragrant. Crumble over 12 anchovy fillets and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the cooked spaghetti, 6 stalks of steamed asparagus and 1 small broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces, and mix well. Transfer to a bowl, add cup of seedless black olives, crumble 50g of feta cheese over it and mix well. By Boris Leong, chef at Chef B Pasta INGREDIENTS 1 Japanese cucumber, julienned 100ml olive oil 50ml light soya sauce 25ml lemon juice 1 tsp lemon zest 1 tomato, skinned, deseeded and diced 400g angel hair pasta, cooked and drained 200g bak kua, cut into strips 100g pork fl oss 2 tbsp sesame seeds DIRECTIONS 1 Soak the Japanese cucumber in ice water until crisp, then drain. 2 Mix the olive oil, light soya sauce, lemon juice and lemon zest to make the shoyu dressing. 3 Mix the Japanese cucumber and tomatoes with the angel hair pasta. 4 Add the shoyu dressing and top with bak kua, pork floss and sesame seeds.