Everyone thinks their mom is the best cook in the world. But my mummy is seriously yummy! And this is the proof! My mother Gulnar, came from Basra, Iraq to Karachi in 1965 and brought recipes the likes of which Karachi had never seen (well, maybe). Here's some of her signature recipes that should try. Some of them are my experiments and food experiences from around the world. You can check out the menu and order details on facebook.com/yummymummyandme

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Creamy White Sauce Pasta

Pasta in white (bechamel) sauce is my favorite kinda pasta. Rich, juicy and warm - like a big hug from a good looking, sensitive man. Or woman. A bechamel sauce is really simple and really complicated at the same time - I know I've messed it up more than a few times before getting it right and be able to give it my own twists and turns.

You need:

250 g of boneless chicken - cut into bite size pieces
3-4 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1 small finely chopped onion
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of cooking oil
4 tbsp of flour (maida)
2 tbsp of cream
1 cup of milk
1 can of mushrooms
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese or 3-4 slices of packaged cheese ( it's easier to get!)
2 -3 cups of chicken stock
Crushed red chilli
Salt to taste
400-500 grams of pasta - I prefer using 'bigger' pasta shapes like penne or fusilli

Cut the chicken into bit size pieces and mix with Worcestershire sauce, 1 finely chopped garlic, 1 tbsp of flour and some salt. Marinate the chicken for a couple of hours if possible - else 20 minutes will do too.  Pan fry the chicken until its cooked but not browned. Set aside. Fry the chopped mushrooms next so they soak up the flavor of the chicken from the pan. Lastly, fry the onions until transparent and set aside

Here's the tricky part. Stay alert kids:

Heat up a large non-stick pan, and add the oil, followed by the butter. The oil will prevent the butter from burning too quickly. Add the flour and keep stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep going until the flour changes color slightly. Next, add the milk and keep stirring gently. Don't be scared of the lumps you see in the sauce. Keep stirring and rubbing the lumps down with the spoon. Add in the chicken stock and keep going until the lumps are gone. Next, add the the garlic and onions. Make sure the flame is really low. Add the cream and cheese and keep stirring. Next, fold in the mushrooms, chicken and salt. And our sauce is good to go!

Boil the pasta the way you like - I like it al dente, my mother likes it fully cooked. So when cooking for the family, I go all the way.

There's two ways to from here: my way or Mum's way.

I like to dish out the cooked pasta, add a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and pour the sauce on top of the pasta. My Mum likes to mix the pasta and the sauce on the stove. She says its lets the flavors mix well. We leave the rest to your better judgement.

My mother was quite happy with the way the pasta turned out. Although she did complain about the crushed chilli being unevenly distributed on the dish. Sorry Mum!

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