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Spaghetti a la Huancaina: Easy Peruvian pasta

Easy Pasta a la Huancaina

Even the most enthusiastic of cooks needs some of those easy-peasy recipes that they can fall back on. For me, it’s got to be quick, easy and use ingredients that I can either store for a long while, or at least get hold of at the little shop on the corner of my street.

For me, this Peruvian-inspired pasta recipe is one of those that I make time and time again. Many visitors to Peru will have tried the yummy ‘papas a la huancaina‘, which are potatoes in a creamy, slightly spiced sauce.

This pasta is a bit of a cheat’s version – the potatoes are replaced with spaghetti (you could use other pastas if you want, like fettuccine), and the sauce is a pared-down version which retains the key ingredients. It takes about ten minutes to prepare the sauce. I like spicy food, but you can always vary the amount of chilli paste if you wish, and although it’s not the original huancaina recipe, using the Philadelphia cheese and yellow chilli paste is a great way to make a tasty ‘pasta huancaina’ dish in a flash!

If you’re looking for an even quicker way to make pasta huancaina, you can even get the sauce ready-made.
Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 250g spaghetti
  • 6 large tablespoons of Philadelphia cheese
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo (yellow chilli) paste
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced finely
  • Half a small onion, sliced finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 50g feta cheese to crumble on top
  • Olive oil

 

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In a large pan, set the spaghetti to cook, following the instructions on the packet.
  2. Take a frying pan, and add a good lug of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the garlic for an extra minute.
  3. Turn the heat down a little and add the aji amarillo yellow chilli paste. Stir well to coat the onions and garlic, before adding the Philadelphia cream cheese. Continue to stir over a low heat, being careful not to burn the mixture, until you the ingredients have all mixed and you have a creamy sauce. You can add a little more olive oil if it looks a little too thick.
  4. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Take the frying pan off the heat.
  5. By now the pasta should be ready. Drain and add the pasta to the frying pan, and use a couple of forks to lift and coat the pasta in the huancaina sauce.
  6. Serve the pasta in bowls, topped with a little feta cheese. Easy!
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