Fancy a plate of sweet potato pasta? - Chef Patrice Harris-Henry mixes it up in the kitchen with Nella’s Tendaronis
Food manufacturer and entrepreneur Onel Williams’ pasta has a special ingredient. Williams’ pasta, which he has named Nella’s Tendaronis, is made from sweet potatoes and has already hit the market. The owner and operator of the food service company, Essential Goods and Services Trading Limited, launched this innovative product last September, to the delight of many health-conscious diners as well as pasta lovers looking to try something new. It boasts reduced-gluten components and is made from locally grown sweet potatoes.
The creation, the first of its kind to hit the local market, is a huge win for Brand Jamaica, as not only is the company owned by a local businessman, but it aids in building the local agriculture industry. That is, it gives local farmers the opportunity to benefit financially. Especially when the product hits the international scene.
But what’s pasta without a flambé flame? Chef Patrice Harris-Henry was honoured to join creative forces with Williams and bring his pasta to life. The director of The Reggae Chefs Jamaica, a personal chef service company which prides itself on fusing Jamaican cuisine with Jamaican culture, can only be defined as a culinary artisan who is known for producing creative dishes using local foods.
The executive chef for Mission:FoodPossible, the globally recognised charity arm of The Reggae Chefs, Harris-Henry made a sizzling appearance on www.forbes.com as one of the ‘5 female chefs in the Caribbean who are changing the way we look at food’.
Today, she shares one of her most prized recipes with you: Nella’s Sweet Potato Pasta Bake Surprise.
Nella’s Sweet Potato Pasta Bake Surprise
1 pack Nella’s Sweet Potato Tendaronis/pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped purple onion
1/4 cup scallion, finely diced
3 small sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet or bell peppers (use a variety of colours)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2lb seasoned oxtail with jerk rub or dry seasoning
32 ounces marinara sauce, freshly made or canned (See instructions below to make marinara sauce, if using fresh-made. If using canned marinara sauce, just add herbs and spices to it to meet your flavour profile.)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons jerk rub or paste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pepper Jack cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1. Sear and cook oxtail until tender, remove flesh from bone and dice or cut into small pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish or other large rectangular baking dish/Pyrex dish.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for five minutes for al dente (firm to bite). Be careful to not overcook the pasta. Drain the pasta and cool under running water to stop the cooking process. Drain water, place into a bowl and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, scallion, thyme, garlic and bell or sweet peppers to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, then add the oxtail and stir.
5. Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet, stir to combine ingredients. Add two tablespoons jerk paste or rub mix together. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
6. Pour the meat and sauce mixture from the skillet into the bowl with the pasta stir to combine. Add the shredded cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese and then stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese and breadcrumbs.
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the casserole is hot and the cheese is lightly browned on top. Let stand for five minutes and then serve. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, about 1/2 cup chopped
1/2 medium purple onion, about 1/2 cup chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
31/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1 sprig fresh basil
1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add two tablespoons olive oil. When heated, add chopped onions, minced garlic and sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally.
2. Add crushed tomatoes to pot, stir ingredients together. Allow to come to a simmer, stir occasionally to avoid sticking. Allow to cook for 40 minutes at a slow, steady simmer over low heat.
3. Add oregano, thyme, marjoram, salt, freshly ground black pepper or peppercorns and red pepper flakes. Stir and allow to cook for five more minutes.
4. Add white wine and basil, stir and turn off flame, allow residual heat in pot to infuse the flavour of the wine and basil into the sauce.