Monday, September 24, 2012

Creamy Pasta Alfredo with Crispy Bacon, Mushrooms, Capsicum, Zucchini and Crispy Skin Salmon

Awesome, easy, delicious dinner that anyone can make! Photo taken when I made this again few months ago =)

Hello, everyone! 

Back today with another "weeknight dinner" type recipe. To be honest, I've had this recipe in my drafts folder for the longest time but never got around to posting it because I wasn't sure if it's a recipe that people might be interested in. It wasn't until I made it again earlier this week and posted a photo of it on Instagram that I felt so encouraged by all all the "likes" and warm responses from it. Thanks so much, everyone. So, there you have it. Finally releasing it from my dusty drafts folder and onto the blog at long last! =)

I don't know about you, but even though I've got a strong appreciation for various cuisines, I still find Asian food extremely comforting, especially on a lazy weeknight. That's why I still tend to cook a lot of rice at home for dinner (lol). 

But to be honest, I would still CRAVE for Pasta from time to time, just for a change. And when I do, I almost always make this Pasta Alfredo. Even though I still love my Spaghetti Bolognese, I would make this more often because Spag Bols need so much more ingredients to make whereas for this, I just need to buy the cream (cause I normally have shredded cheese in my fridge) and whatever fresh ingredients I feel like adding into it. Plus, I like to have lots of vegetables (which I can't do with Spag Bols) in my pasta to make it healthier. 

My midweek dinner that I shared on Instagram... SERIOUSLY delicious and satisfying!!

Some technical notes for this recipe:

Just as true, Italian Carbonara doesn't actually contain cream, Pasta Alfredo too, isn't meant to have cream in it. It's actually been adapted by Western countries to suit their palates. Alfredo is normally made by simply adding butter and shredded cheese to hot pasta. Hence, I'm calling it CREAMY Pasta Alfredo.

Also, I think crispy bacon, mushrooms, capsicum and zucchini make a WINNING combination, but feel free to add whatever you like. Although, when I took the step-by-step photos for this recipe months ago, I didn't have all the ingredients I wanted so the ingredients/method doesn't necessarily match the photos. See photos as a guide but READ the recipe carefully to avoid confusion. My apologies...

As for me, I am quite particular about how I like my Creamy Pasta Alfredo to be. I like it not too watery, but still having some sauce at the bottom. Semi-thick enough to stick onto the pasta, but still slippery in the mouth. Hard to explain, I know... Will try and guide you guys as much as I can. Trick is to cook everything on low so it brings out more flavours from ingredients without drying out the sauce too quickly.

Finally, I've also added a separate recipe below to give you guys tips on how to make yummy, delicious Crispy Skin Salmon. Enjoy!!! =)


Creamy Pasta Alfredo Recipe
(serves 3 or 2 BIG eaters)


250g pasta
2 entire rashers of bacon (roughly cut to 1cm cubes)
2 + 5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic (minced finely)
3 portobello mushrooms (diced roughly) *
300ml thickened cream
1.5 tsp dried herbs
1 tsp dried chilli flakes **
1 red capsicum (diced)
1 zucchini (split lengthwise, then sliced)
3/4 cup finely shredded cheese ***
LOTS of cracked salt and pepper (to taste)

* Use portobello because they don't shrink as much as other mushrooms after cooking
** Chilli flakes actually add flavour/fragrance (besides the spiciness) if you add it early enough in the cooking process
*** Add a bit more if you're using thicker kinds of shredded cheese such as tasty, cheddar or mozzarella cheese from packets.


1. Cook pasta as per packet instructions until el dente. Strain in colander and rinse with cold water to remove the starch and avoid pasta from sticking. 

2. Heat a large non-stick pan on low until very hot (approx 5 minutes). Add the bacon straight into the pan, spreading evenly. Once brown, flip the bacon bits and cook the other side till crisp too. Remove and set aside for later. Refrain yourself from nibbling on the super yummy/crispy bacon bits as much as possible. (I can't and always fail...)

3. Add 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan. Once butter melted, add the minced garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the mushrooms to the pan. The mushrooms will absorb all the liquid in the pan in an instant. So, add another 5 tbsp of butter to the pan and let the mushrooms cook slowly for about 5 minutes to release as much juices.

4. Add the cream, dried herbs and chilli flakes then let it simmer for about 2 - 3 minutes to let the flavours infuse. 

5. Stir in capsicum, zucchini and cook for about a minute or so until almost softened. 

6. Stir in the shredded cheese until all melted. Season GENEROUSLY with lots and lots cracked salt and pepper. Try and avoid using table salt. Taste the sauce. 

7. Finally, stir in the cooked pasta. Turn off your stove. Don't further cook the sauce otherwise it'll be dry out and cheese will begin oozing a layer of oil.

8. Once salmon is cooked (see recipe below!), serve on plate. Sprinkle crispy bacon bits and top with Crispy Skin Salmon. Enjoy! 

Sounds like a long recipe, but actually really quick and simple to do... Honestly!


Cooking Tip: How to make Crispy Skin Salmon


1 piece salmon, skin on
Cracked salt and pepper
1/4 tsp corn flour
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil

Jap mayo to serve (optional but recommended)


1. Dab salmon with kitchen towel until dry to remove moisture from salmon. 

2. Crack lots of salt and pepper on the flesh. Turn over.

3. Crack lots and LOTSS of salt on the skin (very important!). Add the corn flour and rub evenly all over the skin.

4. Heat a non stick pan on low. Once hot, add butter and olive oil. The olive oil is to prevent the butter from browning too quickly.

5. Once hot, add the salmon skin side down. Cook for 2 minutes 40 seconds (approx). Turn over and cook for another minute (approx). Remove and serve on plate.


Cooking time may vary according to thickness of fish. The trick is to cook skin side down on low, then turn the fish once you see from the side that the flesh is cooked just above halfway

Cook for slightly under half the time on the other side. The flesh will be cooked and still super moist, which is what you want. Nothing worse than overcooked salmon, ugh!

As you can SEE, the flesh is cooked just about past the centre of the fish. Time to turn.

Skin is super delicious and crispy.
 PERRRFECT with a small dollop of Japanese Mayo -- highly recommended!

Grabbing a small piece of flesh, skin and mayo in each bite... NOMZ

Seared fish

See that the flesh is still really moist (hence the small amount of juices on the plate)... Sooo gooood...

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