Over 50 recipes on Belly Over Mind since I started posting here 5 months ago, and what seemed like a doozy back then is now my everyday. Imagine my surprise when I realised that I had not written one single recipe with spaghetti- my ultimate store cupboard hero. I’ve just never believed in consciously following a recipe for spag because it’s all about instinct. The more spaghetti you boil, the faster you’ll learn what ‘al dente’ is. Roughly chopped tomatoes, smashed garlic, bruised basil, parmesan shavings- it’s almost like a dance now that plays out at odd hours like 3 AM when I’m hungry and couldn’t be bothered with anything else. At times I’ll get adventurous and turn it into a puttanesca with anchovies and olives, other times I’ll tip in red wine, sherry, truffle oil- it really depends on how drunk I was when I got home. “Maggi noodles for grown-ups”, mum chimes in.
A pasta supper is meant to be quick and above all things, comforting. This cracker of a recipe brings together everyone’s favourite new cheese ball, the burrata, together with strands of tart and sweet spaghetti and globules of spoon tomatoes. I serve this cold for a luxurious spin on a pasta salad. Break the cheese parcel and out oozes curd and cream that adds yet another dimension to this punchy dish. The rich flavours make this perfect for a weeknight dinner with guests. Just serve some crusty bread on the side and you’re done.
The kecap manis sits well in the refrigerator and its flavours only get better as it sits. By itself, it’s a great glaze for chicken, pork or duck, so I suggest you make a vat of this in advance to save time.
Burrata With Balsamic, Soy and Chilli Spaghetti
Balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup
Kecap Manis or Sweet Soy sauce 1/4 cup (recipe below)
Scallions 2, chopped (optional)
Bird’s Eye chilli 1, finely chopped (optional)
Spoon tomatoes or cherry tomatoes 1/4 cup
Burrata cheese 1 ball (I used the one from Eleftharia Cheese) or Fresh buffalo mozzarella
Basil a small bunch, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Red chilli flakes for sprinkling over (optional)
KECAP MANIS OR SWEET SOY SAUCE (makes a little less than 1 1/2 cup)
Palm sugar or Brown sugar 1 cup
Dark soy sauce 1 1/4 cup
Garlic 3 cloves, crushed
Star Anise 1, thwacked
Ginger 1 tsp, freshly grated
Water 1/4 cup
For the kecap manis, caramelize the sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir till it melts. Add to this the soy sauce, garlic, star anise, ginger and water, then bring to a boil. Stir constantly till the sugar has dissolved. Lower the heat and cook for an additional 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Pour this into a bottle and store in the refrigerator. The flavour will improve as it sits.
Boil the water for the pasta and salt it when it comes to a boil. Add in the sticks of dried spaghetti and give it a good stir to make sure no strands are sticking to each other. Check periodically for doneness or al dente, which means to have a firm bite. Drain the spaghetti when done, shock it under cold water and pour over some extra virgin olive oil.
In another saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar, the kecap manis, scallions and bird’s eye chilli and let it reduce for two minutes. Throw in the roughly chopped basil and take it off the heat.
Stir this sauce through the spaghetti and season to taste. Let this sit in the refrigerator to chill.
To assemble, arrange the spaghetti on a plate, drain the burrata from its brine and place it over the spaghetti and spoon over the tomatoes. Sprinkle over some more chilli flakes and more basil if you like.