Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Conchiglioni with courgettes, saffron and Robiola di Roccaverano

      It was late, even very late this evening when I got home. I spent the day in Turin exploring the books and latest food proposals at  Eataly and most importantly checking out what offered by a kitchen tools shop recently discovered by my friend Eli. Don't get me wrong, I'm not  in the least complaining, on the contrary. Let's say that it was a full and interesting day, rather tiring, albeit in a more than pleasant way.

       However, the problem was another: I was expected at home, ready to put dinner on the table, and suddenly I realized I had not not given it the slightest thought. There was no choice but to resort to the contents of the pantry to put together one of those recipes that with little time and effort solve any situation.
      A quick mental scan of my fridge contents to remember  the magnificent winter courgettes - you know, those beautiful dark ones that in this season give you a hint of spring - that I had bought the day before at the local market. A thought to available left overs, et voilà, the solution is at the ready: a handsome single course meal where the pasta is little more than an excuse for a mountain of veggies.

Ingredients - for 4 people:

6 rather large courgettes
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 1 / 2 tsp dried thyme
a pinch of saffron
100g Robiola di Roccaverano, or other creamy goat cheese (chevre, croutin, etc)
250g conchiglioni

     Heat the oil with the garlic in a wide frying pan. Add the courgettes cut into thin slices. Add salt and pepper. Saute over high heat for 5stirring often. Cover and reduce the heat to finish cooking.The courgettes will have reduced in volume and released their own liquid. Dissolve the saffron in this and mix to coat well trying not break the courgette slices. Turn off the heat and remove the garlic clove.
     In the meantime cook the large pasta shells in plenty of salted water. Drain well 'al dente'.
     Add to the pan with the  courgettes.  Mix in the saffron making sure that all the pasta is well coated. Sautè for  a few minutes so that the pasta absorbs the courgettes and saffron liquid and finishes cooking. Finally add the goat cheese to thicken the sauce.
    Finish with a dash of pepper and you're ready to serve.

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