FoodLifestyle

Chef Vikas Chawla

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Chef Vikas Chawla started his career with Dominos Pizza, Chandigarh. Soon, his natural talent and love for food took him to places within India and beyond. Crafting new recipes, adding interesting twist to old recipes and bringing authentic international recipes to home are just a few of his passions.

Post Dominos, Vikas worked as General Manager with major brands like Haveli & Haldirams.

During his career progression, he realized that food can be a lot more than we know it. Following his instinct, he quit working as GM and dived in his passion, never to look back. He started Core Hospitality Solutions and partnered with various restaurants, cafes, sweet shops, bakeries and highway joints to create out-of-the-box menus and modern state-of-art kitchens.

His projects include live kitchens and commercial kitchens for bulk production. He consults renowned sweet houses across India and specializes in highway joints with daily footfall between 5,000 and 10,000.

Apart from North Indian cuisine, he specializes in Italian, Oriental, Spanish, Continental and the closest to his heart- Lebanese cuisine.

He has ongoing projects in more than 25 cities in India and also has a successful overseas project up his sleeves.

Recently, he visited Madrid, Spain, as part of Chef Manjit Gill’s team of Indian delegates for the world-famous Madrid fusion event.

Last year, he attended the IBA bakery fair in Germany. He aims to bring authentic recipes from around the world to his home land and make international cuisine feasible in Indian homes.

My Recipe

Angel Hair Pasta (Capelli d’angelo – Capellini) in Marinara Sauce

This pasta dish is prepared with Capellini dried pasta, which has thin long strands and mostly sold in nest-like shape. It can be used in salads, soups, over the seafood and sauces.
Marinara sauce is a very simple and flavourful sauce, prepared in just 15 minutes. It’s made with mere three ingredients; tomatoes, garlic and basil. We may add onions but I prefer it without. Sweetness of basil leaves reduce the acidity of tomatoes and gives divine flavour to sauce.

Ingredients
Capelli d’Angelo Pasta    200 gms / 8 nests (DIVELLA – available at gourmet stores or online, I found Divella brand best for this pasta but you may go for any brand)

Water (for cooking pasta)    1 ltr

Tomatoes   500 gms (Any brand available at gourmet stores. I preferDIVELLA)
(Whole Peeled Pelati Tomatoes Can)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil(Cooking)    1 1/2 table spoons(approx. 20 ml)

Garlic Chopped / Sliced    3 cloves

Fresh Basil Leaves  15 leaves for shredding and cooking with sauce / 10 leaves for garnish

Salt  1 heaped table spoon in boiling water (approx. 15 gms),
¾ tea spoon in Marinara Sauce while cooking Pasta

Crushed Black Pepper(Optional)    ½ tea spoon

Parmesan Cheese   3 table spoons (approx. 20 gms)
(Hard Block / Powdered)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil   1 ½ table spoons(approx. 20 ml)
(To drizzle on top while serving Pasta)

Method Preparation
Pre-Preparations

Open the can; pour tomatoes and puree in a bowl. Use potato masher to mash or just squash with hands.
Wash basil leaves. Stack leaves, roll and cut into shreds.

Pasta Boiling

Take water in 10 inches flat pan having low height sides and place it on the high flame. (Low height sides help in lifting cooked pasta with a perforated spatula)
Add 1 table spoon of salt and let the water boil. (Perfect pasta is always cooked in salted water, which increases the flavour of final dish)
When the water boils, reduce the flame to medium high and drop the nests in water.
After 8 minutes, turn off the flame and let it be in water only. (No need to drain the pasta because we’ll cook it immediately in sauce and serve)

Making of Marinara Sauce

Place a similarpan on medium low flame and pour olive oil.
When the pan is moderate hot, add garlic and lightly sauté it. (Please do not overcook the garlic as it turns brown very quickly and gives bitter / pungent flavour in the sauce)
Add squashed tomatoes into pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
Now add shredded basil leaves, salt and simmer again for another 5-8 minutes.
Sauce needs to be cooked for maximum 10-12 minutes.
Check salt level in sauce and adjust as per your taste.
Only If you feel the sauce is little acidic or sour, add ½ tea spoon of sugar to reduce the acidity of tomatoes.

Finishing the Pasta Dish

After the sauce is ready, lift the boiled nests of pasta with a perforated spatula one after one and place it on the cooked sauce. (As shown in the picture)
Sprinkle black pepper & parmesan cheese on pasta.
Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Turn of the flame & drizzle extra virgin olive oil on it.
Sprinkle basil leaves on pasta dish and serve immediately. (You may garnish with any other fresh herb or micro greens also, as shown in the image)

Suggestions / Tips

You may add red chilli flakes while simmering sauce to enhance spice level.
You can sauté any of your favourite vegetables in olive oil and add into the sauce before putting pasta. (Vegetables like sliced egg plant /aubergines and roasted sliced pumpkin goes very well with this dish)

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1 Comment

  1. It’s exciting recipe , definitely I will try.

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