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.
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)
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. 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.
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?