Pasta. Essentially Italian. Essentially European. But like all things in Sri Lanka, we Sri Lankans like to make it our own.Accepted that there are many ways of preparing this dish. Be it with a traditional Bolognese sauce, carbonara, amatriciana or etc, nothing beats the ways in which us Sri Lankans choose to serve the dish. The last time I saw it, it was being served with dhal & chicken curry in a roadside kade. Not too bad I must say.

Pasta is also an alternative for rice in a typical fried rice kind of situation. Toss together some finely sliced carrots, leeks, cabbage, onion with some garlic and ginger in a fiercely spiced stir fry, toss in your prepared pasta and some Knorr or Maggi chicken cubes for good measure et voila! You got yourself fried pasta!

I must confess that the above is a lazy dish that I myself like to make sometimes. We enjoy the fried pasta quite frequently at our household.

But being a lover of all things creamy, I love the special occasion pasta my mother makes, well, on special occasions. It is a combination of fresh cream (the Kotmale kind), bacon (or chicken. But bacon for some reason suits the recipe well), some veggies (onions, carrots, leeks & chopped up tomatoes. No cabbage please) and salt and pepper to taste. Garlic, ginger and onions are sauteed in a pan until golden to which bacon is added and fried till crisp. To this mixture, carrots cut into small cubes & leeks are added. A quick toss and an adequate sprinkling of salt and pepper later, the fresh cream is added and simmered till the mixture is slightly thick. To this mixture the pasta must be added. mix thoroughly and simmer for about 5 minutes and take it off the heat lest that the sauce will dry off. If a slightly more spicier version is required or even for a bit of a kick, add a bit of dried chili flakes, bit of parsley and load up on the black pepper.

If you’re feeling a bit fancy, you can serve this with some Parmesan cheese which will add more creaminess to the dish. The veggies must be left slightly crunchy and not cooked all the way through so as to provide texture to an otherwise easy-on-the-teeth dish. The bacon provides a smoky, meaty salty kick whenever bitten into which contrasts heavily with the mellow creaminess of the sauce and the gentle passive taste of the pasta. The best type of pasta to use for this dish is the tubular kind (Penne, Rigatoni or other hollow shapes) as it holds the sauce better while the thickness of the sauce will hold all the other ingredients together.

……or you can just pour some leftover dhal or chicken curry over the pasta and wash it down with a sweetened plain tea. Simple and easy.

And there you have it, Pasta a la Sri Lankan!

And here is my mother’s creamy bacon pasta!