This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla. The opinions and text are all mine.
The young and talented Chef Carolina Diaz, with a Mexican heritage and who is the chef di cucina at the famous Italian restaurant Terzo Piano at the Art Institute Museum of Chicago, will represent USA in the next Barilla® World Pasta Masters in Italy in October. During the competition, 18 young chefs from around the world will compete to win the coveted title of World Pasta Master! Through the World Pasta Masters event, the chefs will celebrate pasta and its heritage all while encouraging those at home to elevate their cooking skills.
Carolina was the only woman to make it to the finals out of all the chefs in the entire country on a recent Barilla event in Chicago. She was one of four chefs who competed in the event, each making their own pasta dish for a panel of judges. But the cool thing was that she won with the most simple dish—one that she’s made for many years but that she’s been able to evolve over time. “All you need is pasta, fresh roasted peppers, tomatoes, herbs, a pinch of cream and tuna. It’s simple, but the taste speaks for itself, that’s my way of cooking” she reveals.
Chefs from all over the world will compete in the finals, in October in the city of Milan. And who better to represent us than a Latina? Carolina told me, “The kitchen goes beyond the act of cooking. For me, it is a way to please and serve. Us Mexicans, we’re much like the Italians—all of our events revolve around the kitchen. It is part of our heritage—it's the way we celebrate and take care of each other.”
And with this deep thought, I closed my chat with Carolina and headed to the kitchen to prepare a dish where I can celebrate Italy and Mexico in the same pot: Pomodoro Guajillo Pasta. The kitchen unites us—let’s combine simple and fresh ingredients to enjoy it to the fullest.
POMODORO GUAJILLO PASTA
20 minutes 8 portions
By Doreen Colondres for Barilla
What you need:
- 1 box Barilla Spaghetti
- 5-6 fresh pear or plum tomatoes, cut into small cubes
- 2 guajillo chiles, deveined, seedless and then cut in thin slices
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thin slices
- 10 basil leaves, thin sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or shredded Mexican queso fresco, to taste
What you have to do:
- Using a large skillet at medium-high temperature, add a bit of olive oil and heat the chilies for 3 min. Remove and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil and sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the chiles and cook for 10-12 minutes.
- In a large pot with boiling water, add enough salt and cook the pasta according to the package instructions or until al dente.
- Transfer the pasta to the pan of the sauce. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water and combine.
- Remove from the heat, add basil, cheese, pepper to taste, serve and enjoy.