Chef Kaushik Misra – Chef De Cuisine at Prego, The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace is one of the reasons why people keep coming back to the restaurant. The food is tasty and consistently so. The periodic food festivals held there bring aspects of Italian cooking based on the country’s various regions to the city.
The hotel recently held a Sicilian food festival at Prego which was a big hit. “Sicily, an island off the coast of Italy has Greek, Mediterranean, Arabic and North African influences on its food,” Chef informs me. Citing examples he says, “They use a lot of raisins and nuts in their cooking, and for pesto, they use almonds and walnuts instead of pine nuts. They also use barley instead of rice for risottos.” I did try this dish – grilled sea bass from Chile served with a barley risotto – it was delicious.
Chef Kaushik began his culinary journey with Taj Hotels as a management trainee and at 21 he was Chef De Partie at Taj Bengal, Kolkata. At 27, he was a Sous Chef and got the opportunity to work with Italian master chefs like Alex Bignoti, Antonello Medda, Luca Vonccini, Giovanna Marson acquiring knowledge and the love for Italian food along the journey.
Under hisexpertise Prego, the signature Italian restaurant at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace won the Best Italian restaurant for the year 2013.
Chef Kaushik also specializes in French and Mexican cuisine. The chef’s personal philosophy revolves around the belief, “Passion for food is the key to success for a chef.” He says that it is important to be passionate and committed to your work.
Chef Kaushik shares the recipe for one of his more unusual pastas which is fairly easy to make. Do try it at home.
Heirloom Chicken Tomato Pansotti Puttanesca
50 gms fresh tomato pasta sheet
50 gms diced chicken
2 tbsp chopped onion
20 gms leek
20 gm celery
20 gms smoked chicken
60 gms fresh cream
1 egg yolk
120 gms fresh tomatoes, blanched and chopped
80 ml tomato sauce
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp black olives
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp bell peppers, chopped
2 tsp fresh chillies, chopped
20 gms capers
Salt and pepper to taste
20 gms chopped parsley
1. Wash and clean the chicken and keep aside.
Heat olive oil, add chopped garlic, leek and celery, then add chicken and cook till just done and keep aside to cool. Blend with cream, egg yolk and smoked chicken to a coarse paste. This is the stuffing for the pasta.
2. Roll out the fresh pasta sheet; stuff the mixture, check the seasoning, and make six pieces of triangular pansottis. Refrigerate for half an hour covered.
3. For the puttanesca sauce, heat olive oil, add garlic, onions, black olives, bell peppers, fresh chillies, tomato sauce, capers, parsley salt and pepper. Keep aside.
4. Add water to the pasta blancher add salt and little oil. Once water is boiling add chicken pansotti and cook for 6 minutes. Drain the water, and toss with the puttanesca sauce.
1. Plate the chicken pansotti as shown in the picture, drizzle the puttanesca sauce, garnish with parmesan flakes and a basil leaf.