A graduate of the Peregrine School of Cordon Blue London, Jun Jun de Guzman is a popular chef instructor as well as programs director at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in San Juan. (His students and friends fondly call him “Chefie”). He is also a member if the Council of Chefs of the USDA-FAS. Whenever he can, he heads abroad for further studies. Most recently, he was at the UFM Baking School in Bangkok where he took the US Wheat course on Frozen Dough Technology and classes at the Macaron Pastry Training Center with Chef Eric Perez.

Description: Jun Jun de Guzman

Jun Jun de Guzman

We all grew up eating pasta and I’m no exception. I remember the sweet spaghetti that was always served during birthday parties – the noodles were always overcooked and most people thought that was the way pasta was supposed to be.

But really, noodles should be cooked al dente, which means “to the tooth”. There should be a little resistance when you bite the noodles; they should not be soft or overdone. So how can you achieve this? First, cook the noodles in plenty of water, about 4 liters for every 450 to 500 grams of pasta. Second, cover your pot until the water starts boiling then add a handful of salt. This will give your pasta more flavor and it’ll make the noodles porous so that they adsorb the sauce they are tossed in. after adding the salt, add the noodles and mix, making sure the boiling water covers the pasta. The noodles should spread out and shouldn’t stick together. Third, don’t add oil! It isn’t necessary and will just make the noodles too slippery for the sauce to adhere to them. Fourth, time is a critical factor when cooking pasta. The difference between al dente and overcooked is just a few seconds! Carefully read the packaging instructions and remember that cooking time may differ between brands. But the best way to know if your pasta is al dente is to bite into a noodle and check if it’s still firm. (Make sure though that the noodles are cooked through – the middle of the noodle shouldn’t be white). Once al dente, immediately remove the noodles from the hot water and drain in a colander. Add the noodles to the sauce, toss (Italians never present pasta dishes with the noodles separate from the sauce), then serve immediately. You don’t want the pasta sitting out for too long. Noodles aren’t made to wait for the sauce, so make sure to cook your sauce ahead. Give the dish a sprinkling of grated cheese and you’re good to go!

Pasta in shrimp pink sauce

Serves: 5 to 6

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Description: Pasta in shrimp pink sauce

Pasta in shrimp pink sauce

·         200 to 300 grams shrimp, unshelled

·         1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

·         2 tablespoons minced garlic

·         1½ tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in ½ cup white wine

·         1½ teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

·         ¾ cup heavy cream

·         500 grams pasta, cooked al dente

·         Parsley sprigs for garnish


1.    Shell and devein shrimp. Slice shrimp in half lengthwise and rinse.

2.    In a pan, heat olive oil and sauté tomato paste mixture. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

3.    Add shrimp and cook until pink. Add fresh oregano leaves. Turn off fire and season with salt and cayenne pepper.

4.    Using a ladle, scoop out half of the mixture and purée in a blender. Return to the pan. Turn on fire and cook at medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in heavy cream. Boil then simmer for 2 minutes.

5.    Add cooked pasta and toss in sauce. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

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