Don't you just love the versatility of pasta? You can add basically any ingredient you like to it to make it your own. I have so many ways in which I flavour macaroni, but this is one of our favourites. Sweet Chilli Macaroni with smoked mozzarella never ever makes it to the leftover Tupperware in my home. It is really an amazing meal.
In the recipe, I use canned tomato and onion mix with sweet chilli, but if you cannot find these cans in the store then simply add a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce to a can of tomato and onion mix to get the same result. If you do not want to use canned products then simply chop up 6-8 ripe tomatoes and add a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce while it is cooking. It is quite easy to adjust to the way you prefer.
I have actually become obsessed with the deep flavour of smoked mozzarella. In fact I have been sneaking it into everything that requires cheese, like my grilled cheese sandwiches, lasagna, burgers and cheese pastries. So be prepared, you might just start seeing a pattern of recipes with smoked mozzarella as an ingredient.
Here are a few tips to always get perfect pasta, no matter what ingredient you are adding to it.
- To start, use a large pot and make sure that the water is rapidly boiling before you add your pasta. Add enough water, the water should cover the pasta adequately
- Add enough salt to the water, because pasta is quite bland if not properly salted. Also salt prevents the pasta from becoming slimy as it cooks.
- Stir the pasta every now and then while it cooks to avoid it clumping up and cooking unevenly
- NEVER rinse the cooked pasta. When you rinse pasta, the starch washes away. The starch is actually what helps the sauce hold on to the pasta.
- Pasta should never be mushy and overcooked, this also prevents the sauce from holding well to the cooked pasta. When you taste the pasta, it should be still be slightly firm, that is not crunchy nor should it be too soft. I usually cook pasta for between 8-10 minutes. Just work between these times and you will get it right.
This will make a perfect weekend pasta, as you can serve it hot as a meal or cold as a salad or side dish. So it makes for an ideal picnic lunch, so no matter which way or meal you are going to serve this, I know that you are going to love it.
Sweet Chilli Macaroni with Smoked Mozarella
- 250 g macaroni
- 1 can sweet chill tomato and onion mix or 6 ripe tomatoes
- small onion chopped
- 1 Tablespoon sweet chilli sauce this is only if you are using fresh tomatoes or canned tomato which does not have chiil added
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 small green bell pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder optional
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder optional
- ½ cup grated smoked mozzarella
- ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
- feta to crumble
- cilantro/ parsley to garnish
- 10 ml oil
- Boil pasta according to package instructions.
- Heat oil in a pan, and add chopped onion and chopped bell pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onions and pepper are softened
- Add the can of tomato and onion mix or your chopped tomatoes to the onions and pepper and put in the chilli powder and mustard powder now if using. Squirt in the soy sauce.
- If you are using a plain tomato and onion mix or chopped tomatoes then add in your sweet chilli sauce now.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 10 minutes until slightly reduced.
- As soon as the pasta has finished cooking, strain out the water but do not rinse.
- Stir the cooked pasta into the cooked sweet chilli tomato mix anx mix together well to coat evenly
- Mix in the smoked mozzarella and cheddar and stir to combine.
- Crumble feta over pasta and garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.