Food & Drinks

Making pasta paste at home

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Speranza Njeri Mugo who loves making sumptuous family meals. PHOTO | POOL

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Summary

  • Restaurants might have reopened, but that has not stopped those stuck at home or with free time from turning into chefs and bakers or starting their own side gigs.
  • Speranza Njeri Mugo, is among those who is still finding satisfaction in preparing meals at home, something that she started last year.

Restaurants might have reopened, but that has not stopped those stuck at home or with free time from turning into chefs and bakers or starting their own side gigs.

Speranza Njeri Mugo, is among those who is still finding satisfaction in preparing meals at home, something that she started last year.

“I’ve always had a passion for cooking. When I was young I would get into my mother’s kitchen whenever she left for work to prepare mandazi, but the recipes would never work,” Ms Mugo says.

“I remember watching cooking shows then asking for money from my parents to buy the ingredients. The food was not good then but my family was supportive and they ate it anyway,” she says.

“They now enjoy my meals and banana bread is their favourite.”

The 22-year-old prepares a range of dishes including chicken biryani, beef biryani, pilau, beef stew, coconut beans, pumpkin chapatis, pasta, shakshuka, mukimo, potato wedges and banana bread.

The home cook from Thika shares her recipe for preparing creamy penne pasta, a quick and easy meal, perfect for weekdays.

The pasta is prepared with creamy tomato sauce prepared with a tomato puree base, mixed herbs, and cooking cream.

“The pasta dish is versatile and can be eaten any day of the week. It can be eaten during supper or lunchtime since it’s quick and easy to prepare. Pasta is quite filling and can be eaten on its own as a complete meal,” she adds. “The creamy sauce goes well with pasta and tastes great.”

She started cooking seriously about last year March during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I would get compliments from friends about the meals I posted, so I decided to create Tastysahani page in July last year to share my food journey with others,” she adds.

She tweaks her mother’s recipes and adds inspiration from cook shows, online food blogs and cooking tutorials on YouTube.

“I try out many recipes, perfect my mother’s. Keep practising with the dishes and have fun in the kitchen.”

Ms Mugo completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Financial Engineering in 2020. To keep herself busy, she started posting her food pictures on WhatsApp.

“At the university, I pursued a course completely different from my passion. But I have finally realised that cooking is my true passion and I plan to pursue it fully and perfect it with the hopes of having restaurants and best-selling cookbooks.”

She has tried venturing into the delivery of home-cooked meals, but it did not work out, and now hopes to grow fans through her social media page as she plans to launch a YouTube channel.

Penne pasta recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes.

Cook time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups penne pasta

1 cup cooking cream

1 1/2 cups pureed tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic crushed

1 onion sliced

Dhania for garnish

3-5 tablespoon cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon mixed herbs

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preparation

1. In a sufuria boil water and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2. Boil Penne pasta for 9 minutes.

3. In a hot saucepan over medium heat, add the cooking oil. Cook the garlic and onions for 3 minutes until tender. Stir constantly to avoid burning the garlic.

4. Add the tomato paste and cook till raw tomato taste is gone and the oil is orange. Add pureed tomatoes. Stir to combine.

5. Add the mixed herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer the sauce for 1 minute.

6. Gradually add the cooking cream on low heat, while stirring. Cover and let simmer till sauce is thick.

7. Drain the pasta and add to the thickened sauce. Stir to combine. Cook for a minute till pasta is well coated with the sauce.

8. Garnish with coriander (dhania) and serve immediately.