Lazy Man’s Mac and… Things

Lately, I find myself cooking pasta more and more like the Italian way of cooking it. Well, I mean, the Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo way. If you have no idea what this means, maybe you can take a look at this video first.

Okay, you don’t want to watch the video, let me tell you. In the past, when we (Malaysians) talk about cooking pasta, it is always boiling some pasta, and then pouring some heated store bought tomato sauce/white sauce over the pasta. Sometimes we might throw in extra onions, garlic or sausages when heating the sauce.

The Gennaro way does not use store bought sauces. He cooks his own sauce, and then cooks the boiled pasta over the sauce before serving it. It is quite similar to Chinese style stir fried noodles in a sense. After watching countless of Gennaro’s pasta videos, I come to a conclusion that while he might have different recipes, the basic steps are the same:

  1. Boil pasta,
  2. Saute onions, garlic, chili (those fragrant stuff) in a pan,
  3. Add the meats/seafood into the pan and sear them,
  4. Add vegetables into the pan and cook for a bit,
  5. Add boiled pasta into the pan and cook for a bit more, mixing everything up,
  6. Serve.

With these 6 basic steps, you can create a million different pasta recipes on your own… And I am going to show you two of my recent recipes today.

I actually just wanted to finish up my macaroni stash after coming back from KL because they have been lying around for quite some time.

Mac and Cheese… and Bacon and Peas

Sunday evening, I saw that I still have a bit of those Camembert cheese left in the fridge, so I thought maybe I should have some delicious mac and cheese. And when I do mac and cheese, I always have bacon, because bacon is delicious.

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Cheese and bacon

Oh ya, I bought a new non stick wok. It was an impulse purchase. I saw this wok selling at RM 159.90 previously, but it was RM 99.90 when I saw it again last week. So I grabbed it. A wok is much deeper than a pan and much better for stir frying, so it should be a good purchase

So I boiled some of my macaroni, and in the mean time chopped up the bacon strips and the cheese. Then I heated a bit of olive oil in my new wok and chucked the bacon bits in to fry and crisp up. Then I thought about mom and her nagging and felt guilty, so I decided to add some green peas into the wok.

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Bacon and peas

When the smell coming out from the wok was wonderful, I threw in the boiled macaroni and stirred them all up for a bit.

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Mac and bacon and peas

A little bit of salt and pepper for seasoning, and then I discovered I bought something by mistake…

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F**king Thyme…

Now, you guys know I don’t do herbs when I cook, like, ever… I actually wanted to buy crushed garlic powder, because I am getting lazier and lazier to deal with raw garlic all the time. I didn’t realize I got the wrong bottle when I was paying. I didn’t even realize I got the wrong bottle when I was unpacking my grocery at home. I only realized when I wanted to add garlic powder into my pasta and saw this instead.


Anyway, what’s done is done. What the heck, waste not want not. Might as well use it and see if I can acquire a new taste. So I sprinkled some of this thyme in with the salt and pepper as well.

Finally, I added the chopped cheese into the wok and turned off the heat, using just the residual heat to melt the cheese into my pasta. And it is done.

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Mac and cheese… and bacon and peas

I wanted to call this my Mac and Cheese, but as you can see from the picture, the cheese is not exactly visible. This is because there was too little cheese for too much of everything else. There was so little cheese in this dish that I feel it is too unreasonable to just call it Mac and Cheese. So I call this my [Mac and Cheese… and Bacon and Peas].

Mac and Fish:

The next day, I planned to have baked fish for dinner. But as I was preparing my ingredients, I looked at my new wok and thought that I should really use it more because it is such an awesome addition to my kitchen. So… I cut my tilapia fillet, mushrooms and tomato into pieces instead. I have marinated the fish with salt and pepper the night before.

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Fish, shrooms, tomato and peas

The cooking process is more or less the same. I had earlier boiled the last of my macaroni and set it aside. Then, heat the wok with some olive oil, and added two spoonfuls of the vinaigrette that my mom gave me.

No, no, forget I said that. I did not add any vinaigrette into the wok. I threw the fish into the wok straight to sear it. Then I threw in the tomato, shrooms and peas in and cooked them for a few minutes. Then I added the pasta in and cooked for a few more minutes. Because there was no cheese this time, I added a bit more salt and a lot more pepper for seasoning. Also some of those lovely thyme.

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Mac and fish

And there you have it, my Mac and Fish. I’m not giving it a longer name because… mac and fish, mac and fish, rhymes with mac and cheese, sounds nice doesn’t it? 😉

If you have been reading instead of just picture staring, have you noticed how my procedure with cooking these two mac dishes to be following the 6 steps that I mentioned in the beginning of this post? That’s how Gennaro does it, and that’s how I will keep doing it.

And… I still don’t like thyme. I have not acquired the taste for it yet. Don’t know if I ever will…


  1. I am surprised that Mun went to Singapore for their healthy food! This is the first time I heard of this statement which I thought otherwise.
    The wok is now your best friend and is worth the investment paid. You might one day shock us that you could also bake a cake with your WOK!!! Wakakakaka

    • Well, my Singaporean relatives seem to agree with Mun that their hawker food is healthier compared to ours. Well, I wouldn’t know, it has been ages since I last had hawker food in Singapore.

  2. That’s how I cook pasta too. Or actually, I should say that’s how D taught me to cook pasta. If you’re making the kind of pasta with a sauce (like tomato sauce), you can add a little bit of the pasta water into the pan to thicken the sauce up! And yessss… bacon! I always use the lard runoff from the bacon to coat the pasta. 😀

  3. A good wok is an asset in the kitchen so it is worth the RM99.90 spent. I don’t like thyme either. Got funny smell 🙁 I’ve tried it with beef stew and roast chicken and that’s it, no more.

    Now you make me want to eat pasta. Hmm..I think I’ll cook pasta this weekend with bacon!

    • I did notice there is a strong smell to it when I added them into my pasta. Can’t say I like it as of now. Maybe it will change with a few more tries..

  4. Of course Gennaro doesn’t use store bought sauces for his pasta….he’s Italian! 😀 I’m surprised to see him use cockles in his pasta dish but those cockles, I think, are quite different from ours. I can see that the flesh is whiter (like shellfish) when it popped open unlike ours that have lots of reddish blood. That’s why I think theirs are called cockles and ours are blood cockles (so if you use our type of cockles, I don’t think the dish will be the same).

    It’s funny to see you use a pan to make stir fry Chinese vegetables but a Chinese wok to make stir fry pasta…kekeke! ;D

    As for thyme…I love thyme…but only fresh thyme! Have you tried fresh thyme? But do know that fresh herbs and dry herbs have totally different tastes…the dried ones are much more intense in flavor, so if you’re substituting fresh thyme with dried thyme in a recipe, just remember to put in less. If you don’t like thyme, rosemary will be worse for you.

    • You’re probably right. To be honest, I haven’t really paid attention to raw cockles when grocery shopping to notice!

      Hahaha, I don’t do herbs, so I don’t know the difference between fresh and dried herbs. Now I know. This means I will spend even longer to finish them. 🙁

  5. got bacon and cheese, that cannot go wrong.. but can’t really see the cheese from the photo, I’m imagining when you scoop the macs, you have the “threads” of melted cheese all over the plate.. that would be heaven..

    p/s: is the term “thread” correct here?? what do you call that ah??

    • I wonder if strands is the better choice of word, but thread works just fine. Aiya faham then can liao la 😛

    • I like cockles too, but not on pasta to be honest, my pasta needs to be easy and convenient to eat haha! 😛

  6. Cooking pasta is always easier than cooking other stuff.. But actually, I’m lazy to boil the pasta.. But the sauce is easy to make.. Sometimes I just stir-fry pasta with oyster sauce, veggies and fish cakes, crack an egg later maybe..

    • Boil pasta easy what, just boil water, add a pinch of salt and a bunch of pasta, wait for 10 minutes and it is done. The 10 minutes can use to prepare the sauce or other things. 😛

  7. I like thyme so please send it over if you don’t want it. I will eat your mac and things but need to minus the bacons and minus the salt and pepper = perfect for me!

    Oh, you left out the o when you mentioned it in the initial part as in “a bit of live oil”. Hahaha, when did I become a spell checker.

    • Hahaha, I think it would suit you best to move to Singapore, I heard the food there is so bland that Malaysians who move there lost the ability to salivate! 😛

      And, thanks for being my spelling checker, proves that you have been reading! 😳

      • You are spot on! Do you know that my family and I went to Singapore just for their food and we love the healthy food (less oil, less salt, less sugar, less seasoning) there very much! 😀

        • I heard from my friends, it is not less seasoning, but more like no seasoning, when it comes to food in Singapore. Too bad (or too good) that I did not have a chance to sample hawker food in Singapore for the past few years. My food encounters in Singapore was always during business trip transit in the airport or Ion Orchard, I thought those restaurant food was alright…

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