~ “Asianised” Brown Rice Mac & Cheese ~
Mac & Cheese is my soon-to be 4 years old girl’s favourite. In the absence of daddy, I took her out for a little mummy-daughter time with her favourite food last weekend to realised that I have left my purse at home when we arrived at the eatery after a good 20 minutes walk. *panic*. Out of desperation, I brave it up (thick skin) to ask the stall cashier to let us eat first and I will pay her later when I return. She gave me an unpleasant look before letting us through. From that moment on, I swear that I will make my very own version of Mac & Cheese soonest.
Pasta has become an increasingly common food amongst many in Asia despite the fact that it is of an Italian origin. It is most kids favourite as it is easy to eat and flavourful when cooked with good combination of ingredients. Many families can enjoy pasta dishes, thanks to the vast variety of pasta recipes readily available for share on the social media. Otherwise, pastas are an extremely common item in menus at many restaurants out there. As pasta has been my family’s favourite, authentic pasta at restaurants may break the bank! (*grin*). So, I make them from home at least once if not twice a week. There may be many Asian families out there doing just that! (Any raise of hands? 😊)
Most if not all of us have been cooking pastas using the classic method. I have always wished to avoid having to bring a huge pot of water to boil and then boil the pasta for however long that the packet has suggested. Hence, I did an experiment on recipe inspired by Dr. Doris Kreuter from the AMC Research & Development Institute in Switzerland and discovered cooking & baking pasta in one pot, with the AMC Secuquick Softline Lid, where all sauces and ingredients are cooked together, on a 1 minute “Soft” setting. It was an awesome discovery until I discovered another cooking method when pasta is cooked, just like the Asian steamed rice way, with the new AMC Easy Quick Lid launched last Wednesday. This, I am talking about “al-dente” pasta.
With the classic method in pasta cooking, I often experience boil over when the pasta added generates steam pressure within the pot with lid on. Unless I keep a watchful eye, lift the lid in time and leave it uncovered or partially covered to let the steam pressure escape from the Pot unit, I ended up having to clean my cooker after cooking is done. Some “cooking experts” suggest to lower the heat source to avoid boil over and let simmer under low heat, stirring the pasta and some suggest to apply the wooden spoon trick. I admit that I am just not very good at controlling heat source and these methods are too manual for a lazy person like me (*tongue out. embarrassing*). Also, I do not agree with the idea of letting it simmer under low heat which is a more environmentally unfriendly method as it takes a longer time to simmer pasta with low heat too.
In this recipe, I tried cooking pasta just like the Asian steamed rice cooking method. This is a cooking experiment with the new AMC Easy Quick Lid in combination with an AMC Navigenio. In the findings, I need not be on stand-by to ensure I lift the pot lid in time. I do not need to remove or cover the lid partially and lower the heat source. Neither do must I stir the pasta nor use the wooden spoon trick. When the AMC Easy Quick Lid is sealed properly to the Pot unit and Navigenio turned on with the automatic, “A” mode, heat control is done fully automatically while temperature retained at the range of 97°C to 99°C to boil and cook the pasta within minutes, depending on the type of pasta cooked. The new lid is designed and made with a steam valve and a sealing ring attached to allow air and emerging steam to escape from the pot in a controlled manner during the cooking process. Thus, there is no strong pressure from within the tightly sealed pot forcing the lid to move vigorously, causing boil over.
I used deeper and smaller in diameter Pot unit for pasta cooking. The AMC 20cm 3.0 litre and 20cm 4.0 litre Pot units are ideal for 2 to 8 servings. All I have to do is to fill up just enough water covering the pasta and seal Pot unit tightly with the AMC Easy Quick Lid and let the AMC Navigenio handles the cooking fully automatically throughout the cooking process. The best part is there is no straining required when pasta is cooked as there will not be excess water left in the pot when the proportion of pasta and water are adequately measured. This has been such an amazing cooking evolution I embarked on. The AMC Premium Cooking System does not just enable all cooking to be done healthily for my whole family but in the most convenient manner for me.
So, do not look down on my “Maggi Mi” alike Mac & Cheese! It is STRAIN-FREE” and a comfort food for all at home. This Mac & Cheese may look simple but trust me that the making is simple too. It does not require pasta straining! It tasted so good to a much greater extend than many fine restaurant ones. It is also healthier than the wheat based pastas but much cheaper as compared to those of a restaurant offering the same al-dente texture with gluten free option. Sometimes, we just need good food in a simple way without wasting time queueing up at the crowded restaurant, paying a hefty price. So, it is none others but home-cooked ones can offer. Who wouldn’t want to have such a cooking system at home too?!
Asianised Brown Rice Mac & Cheese Recipe (Serves 2) :
A. Asianised Brown Rice Pasta Cooking
- 120 grams Brown Rice Pasta (I used kids’ shapes brown rice pasta)
- 165ml cup Water or Vegetable Stock
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
B. Cheesy Sauce with Turmeric Powder
- 1 tablespoon Plain Flour (15 grams)
- 200ml Whipped Cream (Milk is a great alternative)
- 50 ml Water (adjust based on desired consistency in sauce)
- 20 grams Butter
- 50 grams Guyere Cheese, grated (Cheddar Cheese is a great alternative)
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (you may try 1/2 teaspoon if you are unsure if your kids would like them)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
AMC Healthy Cooking Method :
A. Cooking Pasta with Easy Quick Lid
- Add pasta and water to an AMC 20cm 3.0 litre Pot unit.
- Cover Pot unit with an AMC Easy Quick Lid. Switch on Navigenio to automatic “A”. Turn on Audiotherm, place on knob, indicating “Steam Window” or 97°C and set to cook for 6 minutes.
- As Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. Add olive oil to pasta and stir gently 1 minute later. Olive oil flows to the bottom after a minute makes it easier to stir.
- Set Pot unit with pasta aside (away from heat source) and cook Pasta Sauce in B below.
B. Cooking Pasta Sauce with Classic or Normal Lid
- Add plain flour to an AMC 16cm 1.3 litre Benjamin Pot unit. Add whipped cream to the Pot unit. Whisk well.
- Cover Pot unit with the classic or normal lid. Preheat the Pot Unit on Navigenio with heat level “3” up to 50°C or “Meat Window”. Switch on Audiotherm indicating “Meat Window” for readiness indication.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. Add butter to Pot unit and gently whisk. Add cheese and mix well. Add turmeric powder and stir well.
- Cover Pot unit with the classic or normal lid. Heat up sauce in the Pot Unit on Navigenio with heat level “2” up to 50°C or “Meat Window”. Switch on Audiotherm indicating “Meat Window” for readiness indication.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. Mix cooked pasta from A above with the cheesy sauce. Add salt & pepper to taste. Mix well and serve warm with hard-boiled eggs or any meat/vegetable of choice.
- Depending on the type of pasta and individual’s preference on texture, the proportion of water to pasta and cooking time may vary. Hence, it is worth doing some experiment and record your findings for many more years of cooking reference in your private kitchen! (Note : Not all types of pasta can be cooked with this recipe method as some pasta may be higher in GI/ more starchy in nature. These pastas may still boil-over when cooked this way.)
- 2 Hard-boil Eggs (room temperature) were cooked under 98°C with 50ml of water in the AMC 16cm 1.1 litre Benjamin Pot before the pasta sauce was cooked. Just turn on Navigenio on automatic, “A” mode and set Audiotherm on “Carrot Window” with 3 minutes to cook. Remove from heat and wait for 5 minutes before peeling off the egg shells to serve. When eggs are cooked perfectly, they are ferrous sulfide-free (the green ring on the outer layer of eggs). Eggs cooked perfectly are tenderly moist too! You may read further on cooking eggs with AMC here … http://onelazycook.com/an-egg-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away/