Rasta Pasta

dscn1493

One of my favorite things about living in New York City is the amount of diverse people. We have a city filled with people from all over the world who bring their food and traditions to one place. I’ve had Jamaican food before, but it would usually be jerk chicken, oxtails and rice and peas. So when a Jamaican friend of mine introduced me to Rasta Pasta, I knew I had to make it! Rasta Pasta is an easy, one pot dish and is probably my favorite pasta meal today. Here’s what you’ll need for it:

  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 1 green, yellow and red bell pepper (all sliced and seeded)
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons of Jerk Seasoning
  • 1 pack of Knorr Parma Rossa
  • 1 1/2-2 cups of mozzarella cheese

First things first, boil the pasta for about 8 minutes. Usually when the pasta is boiling, I like to chop up all the vegetables. Drain the pasta into a strainer and you can begin to make the Rasta Pasta sauce in the same pot. Sautee the peppers, onion, and garlic in the pot until they have a soft texture to them. Next, add the coconut milk. Be sure to stir the pot continuously in order to not burn the milk. Slowly stir in the Parma Rossa and then the jerk seasoning. Add the mozzarella cheese little by little. I like to stir the pot until the sauce thickens just a bit. Once, that is done, you may pour in your penne pasta and make sure the pasta is covered with all the sauce. Serve and enjoy!

*If a whole box of pasta may seem much, you can use 2-3 cups of pasta, depending on your family size.

**You may also add chicken, if desired. Simply season and grill the chicken and add it in with the pasta.

Puerto Rican Pasteles

This typical Puerto Rican dish probably is the most fascinating food I have ever tried. At first, I didn’t like it even though all the ingredients were very familiar to me. Nevertheless, after I tried many more times, or I should say after I tried my mother-in-law’s pasteles, I began to like it and very much enjoy it. This year, in memory of my mother-in-law, I and my daughter made it the way she taught me. Typically, this dish is eaten during the holiday season and is very similar to what most know as tamales. I share this recipe with you all.  Happy Cooking!!

For this dish, you will need to make sofrito, a cooking base used in many Latin American dishes.

Ingredients:

SOFRITO

Blend green pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, recaito in the blender.

FILLING

  • 1 cup of chop meat (pork or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup of alcaparado (chop green olives)
  • 3 spoonfuls of sofrito

Sautee meat until light brown and add sofrito and alcaparado. Add garbanzo beans when the meat is cooked. Let it cool.

PASTELES INGEDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of shredded plantain (green banana)
  • ½ cup of shredded pumpkin
  • ½ cup of shredded white yautia
  • ½ cup of carnation milk
  • ½ cup of achote oil (mix achote seed and oil, heat it up in low heat)
  • 1 small envelope of sazon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red roasted pepper (canned)
  • Paper (banana leaves is good too. It adds flavor).
  • Cooking string to tie

Use wooden spoon or spatula to mix all Pasteles ingredients. It should be a very smooth mixture and nice shiny light orange color. It is ready to be wrapped.

On a piece of paper, put a dollop of the pasteles mixture, a generous amount of meat with its juice and a slice of roasted red pepper. Fold the paper and tie it with string.

To cook, place the pasteles in boiling salted water for about 45 minutes. Pasteles goes well with simple white rice or with rice and gandules.

Freeze extra batch for future consumption.