The inspiration for Ma La Pasta is the crispy, fierce New York winter and also the short busy day time. This is the 10th winter I’ve spent in New York and although February is almost over it is still 100 percent winter here. Grey sky, chilling wind, wet floor. I would define the winter here as tough and fierce, but not depressing. The beauty of living in New York is there are always so many things going on & to explore and you can get stimulated and inspired by tiny little things. A look of street fashion, a piece of graffiti art, a movie, an indie rock song, an exotic cocktail….. Nothing is perfect, but everything can be interesting. This is how I get inspiration for the quick and interesting pasta dish: Ma La Pasta
First things first this is not necessarily a “comfort food”. The taste can be challenging yet intriguing.
Ma La is a combination of numbing spicy taste and is commonly used in Chinese cuisines. Ma La sauce consists of Sichuan peppercorn, chili pepper and various spices simmered with oil.
Pasta is a staple Italian cuisine which is popular worldwide. I choose Linguine pasta for this dish due to the thinner and narrower texture, which can hold strong flavor well.
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1-inch ginger(minced)
- 2 scallions (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 4 dried red chili peppers
- 12 Sichuan peppercorns
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Toasted Sesame seeds( optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro(chopped)
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Boil the Pasta in salted water for 8 mins. Drain the pasta in a colander. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, scallion( white parts), ginger, saute till fragrant. Add dried red chilli peppers, saute for a minute, and take them out. Add chili flakes, saute for a half minute, and add Sichuan peppercorns, saute for another half minute.
- Toss the pasta in the flavored oil, stir consistently, and make sure the pasta is evenly covered by the oil. Add the reserved pasta water, stir for a minute.
- Turn off the heat, and top with herbs and cheese.