My Kitchen Challenge Day 2: Fusilli Michaelangelo with Roasted Chicken

My cooking inspiration today came from a celebrity chef.

Michael Chiarello is a big-time restaurant owner in California, a winemaker and a host at Food Network. I have not much time to tune in to TV and view his show Top Chef Masters, not any other food shows nor drama series, and I actually did not know him until I read through his recipes at He has exquisite taste in choosing the finest and healthiest ingredients for his dishes but healthy food could sometimes be expensive. So on a budget I went to the grocery earlier and bought my ingredients for this pasta dish.

Here is my version of Chef Michael’s Fusilli Michaelangelo with Roasted Chicken.


If you have click on the link to his recipe and read through the ingredients, you would notice that yeah I am right. Balsamic vinegar? Arugula? Pine nuts? not in Singapore please. These ingredients are very expensive here so I opted to use apple cider vinegar instead of Balsamic vinegar, baby spinach instead of arugula leaves, sliced almonds instead of pine nuts and shredded cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan. I also have chosen to use fresh tomatoes instead of sun dried tomatoes. For the pasta, I bought organic durum wheat Fusilli but you can actually use any pasta you like. The closest look-a-like of Fusilli is the spirals but if you have penne or macaroni in your cabinet, then go for it.


Pasta dishes, especially when using red sauce, are very delicious and healthy. Tomato as they say is a very good source of lycophene, a powerful antioxidant and has anti-cancer properties. Raw tomato and tomato products, pasta sauces included, are good sources of vitamins C, A and K; potassium, and fiber.


To better acquaint us with the types of tomatoes and their intended use, here is a list of some of the most common types:

Beefsteak:these are the biggest tomatoes, and have a meaty texture with a sweet, mellow flavour. They are good for salads, grilling or stuffing.

Salad (or round): this is the traditional British tomato – it’s a good all rounder, but really needs to be ripe to get the best flavour.

Cherry: small and very sweet, cherry tomatoes are pricier than salad tomatoes but their intense flavour is worth the extra cash. They are good in salads, pasta sauces or roasted.


Plum: Available as a baby or full-grown tomato, plum tomatoes have an oval shape, with a rich flavour and comparatively few seeds. Good for making sauces and stews.


Green: there are two types of green tomato. One is unripe, and is quite tart but good for chutneys, or fried. The other is a variety that stays green when ripe, has a tangy flavour and is good in salads or, again, fried.

Yellow: these ripen to a golden yellow colour, and are good in salads, salsas and chutneys.

So is tomato a fruit or a vegetable? I was confused too when I was younger because I always see tomatoes in the fresh produce (vegetable) corners of supermarkets and never on the fruit section. But my elementary teacher and now, Google, made clear that tomato is botanically a fruit (among the berry family) but maybe considered a vegetable for culinary purposes.

That’s it for today. I am done with the cooking, writing and now off to the eating part of my day. Bon Appetit! 🍝🍴🍹

2 thoughts on “My Kitchen Challenge Day 2: Fusilli Michaelangelo with Roasted Chicken

  1. I have not tasted the original recipe but my pasta tasted really good. I do not think there would be much change in terms of taste and even texture. I opted for baby spinach not only because it is so much cheaper than arugula leaves but because it is sweeter in taste and fit for young, picky eaters like my daughter. Arugula is a bit bitter that’s why it usually mixed with other sweeter greens- lettuces, wild rockets in garden salads. In this recipe you actually do not cook the baby spinach but toss it with the cooked pasta and tomato sauce, just before serving. Same with the toasted almonds. This recipe doesn’t require much nuts so I guess using other available nuts, aside from pine nuts is also okay and would not harm the overall taste and texture.


  2. Hi Expat Mom it was stated here that you replaced most of the original ingredients of this recipes from easy to find and cheaper ingredients. Were there any changes in taste or texture especially on the veggies?


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