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EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
 

Fresh made pasta and homemade Italian food

By Heather Allen

Do not fear heading in the narrow winding sois off of Ratchadamnoern to seek out delicious places to eat, just maybe don’t venture there in a car. The sois are really narrow. The parking is non-existent and you may mow down an unwary backpacker who thinks the roads are actually big pavements.
But venture forth I did, myself and a few friends to try out an Italian restaurant on Ratchadamnoern Soi 5. The Boutique Della Pasta serves, yes, fresh homemade pasta. It is served al dente, Italian style so if you like it cooked a little bit more be sure and ask the friendly chef.
We ordered a pizza to share and all being avowed meat eaters went for a pizza with ham and olives. It was thin and crispy like an Italian pizza should be but fortunately not light on the toppings like so many Italian restaurants seem to favor in the Land of Smiles. I went for the ravioli with spinach and ricotta and a clearly homemade tomato sauce. Ravioli is always a difficult one; I have found and is my standard order when testing an Italian restaurant. It is easy to undercook so that there is this hard rather chewy square of dough or overcook and it turns into a lump of gelatinous mess. This was perfectly cooked, a bit al dente but not too much for my taste. The fillings were generous.
A friend ordered the pasta all’arrabbiata, which was quite spicy and another ordered the pasta alla puttanesca made with tomato sauce, olives, capers, and anchovies. I use the term “pasta” because we went with the chef recommended freshly made pasta as opposed to the hard spaghetti. We aren’t really sure what pasta we got, but it was delicious. One friend felt it was a bit too al dente for her tastes and we all agreed that next time she should ask for it a little less chewy.
We closed it out with a very tasty tiramisu and a delicious but “big enough for two” sized panna cotta.
The small restaurant was very busy the night we went, good news for the business but hard on the single chef. However, we happily enjoyed our house wine while we waited. If it remains that busy, given the size, then I would suggest reservations.
Pizzas ranged in price from 150 for the basic to 270. There were starters but since our pizza was the starter we didn’t try any, although the bruschetta at the next table looked good! Pasta dishes ranged from 130 to 390 baht, my ravioli was 180 I believe. The house wine was a very reasonable 100 baht a glass and desserts ranged from 85 to 110 baht. Boutique della Pasta is open Monday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 053 326 517.


 

RECIPES BY NOI: Nam Phrik Nam Nor

Bamboo shoots

Nor (bamboo shoot) is quite a universal vegetable. There are a hundred ways of cooking it because there are a lot of different kind of bamboo. During rainy season there are alot of bamboo shoots and they grow very fast. If you have a chance to go to Chiang Rai, you’ll see small stalls by the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai road around Mae Suay. They will have many kinds of bamboo shoots and mushrooms for you to buy for dinner. I like ‘Nor Oh’ which is fermented bamboo shoots, it has a very strong smell. We eat it with sticky rice and chili powder. Well, if I have a chance to go back home I will write about it later. For now let’s focus on our Nam Phrik Nam Nor.
Our recipe today needs fermented bamboo shoots, roughly chopped and soaked in salt water for at least two weeks! Once the two weeks is up it will have a sour taste, meaning its ready for cooking.
Clean the shoots with water and boil for half an hour. While they are boiling, grill green chilis then pound with salt and garlic. Add the boiled bamboo shoots and pound them a few times till they are well mixed.
Next step, stir fry it with pork and add coriander for the last step.
We eat it with some fresh vegetables such as cucumber, Toon (Caladium or esculenta stem) and Krathin (Leucaena leucocephala)


 
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EATING OUT

RECIPES BY NOI