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Penne pasta with garlic confit, parsley and parmesan cream

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PENNE Pasta with Garlic Confit, Parsley and Parmesan Cream

Although the rains have started to come, June still seems rather summery.  On days it doesn’t rain, the weather can get really warm and humid and it’s all we can do to find relief from the heat.

On such days, Hotel InterContinental suggests cooling off with Fiorgelato ice cream treats, which are now being served in its dining outlets.  Richie Cuna, brother of stylist Rachy Cuna, has been producing Fiorgelato ice cream for 20 years now.  Because of his fondness for ice cream, he took a course on ice cream making in the US, then opened a franchise of the Italian brand Fiorgelato in Manila.

Fiorgelato ice cream is produced daily using pure fresh milk and natural ingredients from Italy. With low butterfat content and only a little air whipped into it, Fiorgelato is denser and double the weight of most regular ice creams.  When Fiorgelato and InterContinental Hotel decided to partner in this ice cream promotion, Rachy Cuna, being the stylist that he is, worked with the chefs to enhance the presentation of each ice cream dish. That means each order (at P220 per order) comes embellished with artfully sliced fresh fruits, twirls of pastry, chocolate wafers, cones studded with nuts, even white chocolate shaped into bamboo poles, all prepared by pastry chef Darmo Guevara.

But if ice cream alone isn’t enough, there’s always the salad and pasta served at InterCon’s Gambrinus bar.  Here’s a recipe given by the hotel chefs for one of their pasta dishes.

COCONUT Lychee Sherbet, embellished with white chocolate bamboo poles

With chicken stock, cooking cream and parmesan cheese in the sauce, it’s a delicious, creamy treat in itself.

(Fiorgelato ice cream creations are available in all outlets of Hotel InterContinental at P220 per order. For more information, call 7937000.)

Penne Pasta with Garlic Confit, Parsley and Parmesan Cream

Makes 4-6 servings

Make the garlic confit:

2 whole heads of garlic (around 20 whole cloves), peeled

2 tbsp + 1/3 c olive oil + additional if needed

Make sure the garlic cloves are not bruised. Trim off any black/brown marks. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan and slowly sauté the garlic cloves, allowing them to brown slightly (should not be too brown). Pour in the 1/3 cup olive oil to fully cover the garlic cloves (use more olive oil if needed).

Gently poach the garlic cloves on very low heat until the cloves are very tender. Do not let the oil become so hot that it starts to color the garlic.  Garlic should remain a light or medium-brown color.  (If you have a candy thermometer, measure the temperature of the oil.  It should be about 85°C.) On very low heat, this should take between five to 10 minutes.

Remove the garlic from the saucepan and set aside to use in the pasta.

Prepare the pasta:

CHOCOLATE Hills, a Fiorgelato concoction

500  g penne pasta

¼  c  olive oil, divided

1  medium onion, chopped

2  tbsp chopped garlic

1½  c chicken stock

200   g cooked ham, thinly sliced

1½  c cooking cream

1  c freshly grated parmesan cheese

20  cloves garlic confit (see recipe above)

½  c chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

2 sprigs Italian parsley (optional)

Cook the penne pasta to al dente stage, following package directions. Drain well then coat with two tablespoons of the olive oil to keep pasta noodles from sticking together.

STYLIST Rachy Cuna

Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan or casserole and sauté onion and garlic until lightly browned and fragrant.  Pour in chicken stock and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  Stir in ham and cooking cream and simmer until sauce begins to thicken.

Reheat pasta in a nonstick pan.  Add pasta to the sauce, together with the parmesan cheese, the prepared garlic confit and chopped parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and toss together until evenly combined. If desired, garnish with sprigs of Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

For more tips, recipes and stories, visit the author’s blog www.normachikiamco.com and facebook fan page www.facebook.com/normachikiamco.  Follow on Twitter @NormaChikiamco

Cook’s tips

When making the garlic confit, use a thick-bottomed saucepan so as not to burn the garlic.

Prepare the garlic confit ahead so that it’s ready when you have to add it to the pasta. You can even prepare it early in the day or the day before to save you time in cooking. Store the confit in a covered container until ready to use.

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