Beef Rendang Penne

Couple of months ago I was the finalist for the Asian Food Channel’s Foodie Cook-Off, and the theme was “Raya Celebration”. Knowing I’m up against some contestants who would have been cooking Raya food all their lives, I didn’t want to go in with traditional Malay dish. Hence I was trying to go for the fusion direction.

There were a few ideas in my head: mainly to do with some sort of traditional flavours with western fusion and combining Beef Rendang with Pasta was one of them. But we only had 1 hour of cooking time, so that was out of the question. In the end I went for a Prawn “Ravioli” with Prawn Laksa “Bisque”. Though as expected I didn’t place in the competition as I really didn’t think my dishes through (the second dish we were to incorporate Kellog’s corn flakes…) with the limited time for practise (4 days). One day I shall do a proper post on that. But today let’s talk about the Rendang Pasta.

My dream kinda materialised when I had Lamb Rendang Penne at Nosh (check out the review here), as their version was everything I expected to be, just with a different protein. I’ve been wanting to recreate that at home since then. Seeing Alan putting up pictures of his Pulled Beef Rendang Pasta definitely gave me the final push. So off I went to buy some Penne pasta. There’s something about the robustness of the rendang pairing with al-dente Penne which is thicker in nature that really works for my palate. I’m sure any other pasta will work well too, but I think I’m just a little biased due to my personal preference.

Beef Rendang Penne
Beef Rendang Penne

I tried to get it as close to Nosh’s version as possible, though I have not used quite as much cream because I did find theirs a touch rich. Here’s my very simple recipe, and it only takes about 15 minutes (of course, that’s when there’s already some Beef Rendang lying around). Speaking of which, it’s better to use leftover because as you know, beef rendang tastes better if you leave it for the flavours to develop further.

Beef Rendang Penne

One Portion Beef Rendang (3-4 pieces of beef would be ample)
100g Penne Pasta (or however you like for one person)
50ml Cream
1 tablespoon Butter
50g Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 Kaffir Lime Leaf, shredded, saving half for garnish
Pinch of Chili Flakes

Cook Penne in salted water until al dente.

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute mushrooms until golden. Add cream, follow by beef rendang and half of the kaffir lime leaf. Once the beef rendang is fully heated up, carefully break the beef into smaller pieces. This whole process should take just over 10 minutes, which is exactly the time the penne needs. Once the pasta is ready, drain (reserving a little bit of the pasta water) and mix well with the sauce. Loosen it with pasta water if needed. Serve immediately and garnish with more Kaffir lime leaf and Chili Flakes.

By the way, if your beef rendang recipe already includes Kaffir lime leaf, you can just use it for garnish. Otherwise it would probably be too overpowering. As for the cream amount, it’s definitely up to you. I used just enough to loosen the sauce so it coats the pasta, but if you like it richer by all mean add more.

Alternatively, if you don’t have time to do the whole 3 hours for beef rendang, you can try using ready made paste. Brahim’s (blue packet) is a pretty food brand and I used to use this one when I was at Uni. You do need to cook it much longer than the packet’s direction until the beef is tender (around 1 1/2 hours).

Mmmmm.... I wish you can smell this right now. Actually I wish I could too, since I did this more than a week ago.
Ready to eat!

Mmmmm…. I wish you can smell this right now. Actually I wish I could too, since I did this more than a week ago. The tender beef and the chewy pasta are a perfect marriage. And the aroma from the spices met with cream and butter and produced fireworks! It was so seriously good, I wonder why I hadn’t done it with my batch of rendang last year. I might have an excuse to make this again soon though.

Want some?
Want some?

Makes me wonder what else would work. Alan did a very sexy looking plate of Spaghetti alla Laksa Pesto, maybe I should give that a go!

Have you had any fusion pasta dishes before?

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27 thoughts on “Beef Rendang Penne

  1. looks yummy! definitely bookmarking this for future meals. I think I made your beef rendang recipe before too, and it was definitely delicious with just white rice. ^_^ I didn’t dare to keep it for long coz of the coconut milk though. how long do you reckon it could last in the freezer? 😀

    1. The way beef Rendang is cooked actually makes it last very long (because the coconut milk is pretty much dried up) and that was the way the Minangkabau people preserve meat back in the days when they don’t have fridges at home. I actually left mine in the fridge not freezer for about a week. If freezer, should be able to last for at least a month!

  2. oh wow! your version looks fab too! agree that adding cream is definitely a good idea! thanks for the shoutout! 🙂

  3. looks delicious, like the best of two worlds (italian and malay)! this actually reminds me, back when the library opened at e@Curve about four years back, they served an interesting spaghetti with beef rendang there. i had to check what i wrote about it, but here goes: “The rendang was thick and flavourful, comprising succulent, generously sliced beef tenderloin. But it seemed too oily and overly rich to be matched with the pasta.” i guess there needs to be careful handling of the ingredients to create the right balance…

    1. Yeap! The good thing about using leftover beef Rendang is the oil would have been removed (since they solidify in the fridge hence makes it easier), but a little bit of cream is just nice to just loosen the sauce without making it overly rich (which is the problem I had with Nosh’s version).

  4. Kelly, that looks delicious!! I have yet to cook beef rendang and when I do, I will reserve some to make this beef rendang penne. I think this is motivation for me to start soon 🙂

  5. Oh wow a bit late but congrats Kelly! You amazing gorgeous singer doctor cook all-in-one! This sounds so wonderful. I love beef rendang, its complex flavours and how the meat turns so wonderfully rich and fall-apart tender when slow braised for hours. And it lends itslef so well to so many adaptations! We used it once stuffed in steamed buns, and then in tacos, etc etc. This is such a great idea, using it like ragu with pasta. Good one xx

    1. Actually I would say the beef version is healthy than chicken because for rendang usually very lean beef is used, and you know la with chicken, it’s always quite fatty, unless you use breasts only, then it won’t be so nice.

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