As it has been a couple of weeks since I cooked pasta, I promised Pascal we would cook some for Sunday lunch. He has been having serious withdrawal symptoms from his favourite food! I thought it was also a good opportunity to use up some of the mountain of cheese we have in the fridge. We also invited my lovely friend Ceri to join us.
One mistake we made was going shopping on an empty stomach!! Pascal bought enough food to feed the five thousand - I now have a mountain range of cheese in my fridge, mainly strong french cheeses that are already starting to smell slightly whiffy.
This is a recipe I ripped out from a Hello magazine - I always find they have some good ones. Pascal decided we should double the ingredients just in case we ran out of food - seriously unlikely seeing the recipe was already for 4-6 people and there were only 3 of us!! But for once I didn't argue...
Ingredients for 4-6 people:
300g of extra large pasta shells
Half a small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes (I cheated and bought ready cut and prepared ones)!
200g oak smoked premium back bacon rashers, cut in thirds
An onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200g Taleggio cheese, roughly sliced
200g Gorgonzola cheese, roughly sliced (we actually used Stilton)
Salad and crusty bread to serve, optional
Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4.
Cook the pasta together with the butternut squash in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The pasta we bought said it only took 5 minutes to cook but it took over double that! You want the pasta to be cooked but still have a slight bite and for the squash to be tender. Once cooked, drain.
While this is cooking fry the bacon, onion and garlic in a large frying pan until the bacon has cooked and the onion is softened.
Add the tinned tomatoes and heat through.
Finally add the cooked pasta and squash to the saucepan and mix well, to help the mixture fill some of the shells. Next spoon the mixture into a large ovenproof dish and scatter over the Taleggio and Gorgonzola cheeses.
Cover loosely with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes and then eat up!
If you are serving this to six people you might like to add some salad or crusty bread, however if it is just four of you, you have more than enough food. As we did double the ingredients I think we have enough left over to feed us for the entire week!!
Luckily it is absolutely delicious and Arabella and I had it again for supper tonight and Pascal is already dreaming of having it again tomorrow. The butternut squash tastes very fresh, the bacon adds lots of flavour, the pasta shells are great to scoop up all the ingredients and it is cheesy cheesy - for once I didn't even need to add Parmesan which is a miracle.
Ceri thankfully enjoyed it too - it was a successful meal - we then had a cheeseboard, chocolates and ended it with shots of Pascal's white liquor - Apricotine and Poire William to "digest" the huge amount we had eaten. I was in bed by 8.15pm and the drinks obviously worked as I felt right as rain in the morning and even made it to Bikram yoga although my balance was a bit off!!!