Franko Skugor and Robert Lindstedt did the serve, smash, drive volley, drop shot. Only this time they weren’t playing on the tennis court. Along with Christian Huber, chef de cuisine, Alto Vino, JW Marriott Pune, the Swedish-Croatian tennis duo took part in a cook-off and had to prepare Puttanesca Pasta. The tennis stars are in the city for Tata Open Maharashtra tournament 2018.
As part of the cook-off, Skugor and Lindstedt battled it out to showcase their culinary skills. The chef had selected an easy pasta recipe for the duo and also judged the competition. With Huber demonstrating the recipe the players got acquainted with the cooking techniques and felt less intimidated while donning the apron and toque, and wielding the ladle.
The cook-off started out well with both the players heading to their kitchen stations and stirring up all the ingredients but they also managed to set off the fire alarm. However, following the tips and techniques, the players were able to cook the pasta.
After tasting the two pasta dishes and carefully examining them, Lindstedt was crowned the winner.
Though Lindstedt won, he jokingly admitted, “I would never pay for that!”
Talking about his kitchen experiences, Lindstedt said, “I enjoy cooking because it is one of the few things that really satisfies me since I know I have put my heart and soul into it.” He enjoys cooking when he is not on the court. But it’s not his passion. Out of 10 trials, he manages to get one right and it does not matter as long as the dish tastes good and is edible.
Skugor is not much into cooking. “I stay away from the kitchen as much as I can but I like food,” he said.
But do you have to be a professional chef to cook a meal? “No,” said Huber adding, “What you need is patience and a little bit of knowledge of the flavours. Other than the technicality, the most important aspect of cooking is the interest and liking towards it.”
Cook-offs and cookouts are an easy yet creative way of introducing food to people. “Introducing easy recipes and dishes gives the participants the confidence to cook more complex dishes in the future,” said Huber.
Puttanesca Pasta sauce
- Anchovies.. .50 gm
- Chopped garlic.. .5 gm
- Chopped tomato... 80 gm
- Tomato coulis... 120 gm
- Tomato sauce... 80 gm
- Chopped caper... 20 gm
- Taggiasca olive.. .50 gm
- Fresh red chilli... 2 gm
- Extra virgin olive oil... 50 ml
- Chopped Italian flat parsley... 5 gm
- Vegetable stock... 80 ml
- Black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Heat a pan, and add the olive oil and the anchovies.
- Let the anchovies melt and add the garlic.
- Sauté with the olives and chopped capers and then add the tomatoes and seasoning.
- Add half of the vegetable stock and let it reduce.
- Now add tomato coulis and the tomato sauce to the rest.
- Check seasoning and taste the sauce.
- Add the fresh chopped red chili to it and the chopped parsley.
- If the sauce is too thick, add more vegetable stock.
- Best to be served with long or short thick pasta cooked al dente.
(Recipe by Christian Huber)