Day 6 of the Cupboard Challenge, and in the process of preparing dishes for Big Sis’ impending birthday celebration I’d managed to add a couple of red peppers to our supplies. For a short while I was worried that this might be cheating, but then I remembered…this is my game so I can make up the rules.
It’s not cheating.
To any VIPs reading this: I know, and I’ll say it before you do – 7 or 47, some things never change 😀
The beauty of this dish, as with much of what we cook, is that it’s pretty willing to flex according to what you have in your stores. Treat the following as a guide…this is by no means a recipe that needs to be slavishly followed!
Note however, that the shape of your pasta does make a difference to the finished dish. I like to use orecchiette for this as all the chopped pieces of meat and veg get caught and held in the pasta dimples. Little tubes, like tortiglioni work well too, as do the small shell shapes of conchigliette. Long pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine is not so great.
Number of servings depends on how much of everything you use, and on how big the receiving appetites are.;-)
Sufficient cooked pasta for your serving requirements.
Courgette – diced
Red pepper – diced
Dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in hot water for around 30 mins (keep the liquid for the sauce)
A handful of diced pancetta
A splash of olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan for topping
Another splash of olive oil
Crushed garlic – a lot or a little, as you prefer
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a good splash of the mushroom soaking liquid
1 chicken stock pot (or stock cube)
Approx. 150g crème fraîche (or more, or less…flexible, remember? 😉 )
A few sprigs of fresh thyme – leaves picked from stalks
More sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Got your groove on? And your apron if you wear one? Let’s set to it then…
Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400°F.
Put your cooked pasta into a large bowl.
Drain the mushrooms (keeping the liquid) and roughly chop – add to the pasta.
Heat the oil and cook the soffritto over a medium heat until it starts to soften. Turn up the heat a little and add the red pepper and courgettes; continue to cook until the peppers are just beginning to soften and the courgettes are starting to brown.
Add to the pasta and mushrooms.
See what I mean about those lovely veggies getting held in the pasta? Like teeny tiny serving bowls they are 😉
Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbling.
In its baked form this dish wasn’t wildly photogenic…but does it really matter when something tastes this good?