It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything but I’ve got a few things to post from the weekend. I’ll start with a pasta dish that I made yesterday, one of my comfort food favourites. I tend to make this by eye and by tastebud, adjusting it as I go so feel free to be flexible with the recipe. My mood also affects it, sometimes I like it very soup-y with alot of stock, other times I prefer the pasta to be the star of the show. Yesterday was a pasta day!
I got the idea for it many years ago when I visited Italy with some friends, one of whom was a local. I got many ideas that holiday, we had some wonderful food, much of it cooked by my friends boyfriends Dad whom we were staying with. It was my first time having homemade pumpkin gnocchi and proper neapolitan mozarella di bufala. It was out of this world. You just don’t get that mozarella anywhere else and I have tried very hard to find one that matches it. The shopkeeper that sold it used to travel to the farm at 4am every morning and if I remember right used to sell out by lunch time. The slices of mozarella were like big, juicy mozarella steaks. It was also my first time having pasta e patate, which was a revelation! It’s now one of my favourite dishes much to everyones amusement, me being irish and the dish consisting mainly of potatoes, sigh. It’s a favourite for sick days and hangovers especially, it’s like eating a cushion for your stomach :)
Sunday was one of those days.
I really was not in the mood for leaving the flat so I went through the fridge and the cupboard. I had pasta spirals, new jersey royal potatoes, some butternut squash, red lentils, shallots & some lemon thyme. With minimal time and preparation I threw together this dish for two hungover people (one of them was me). There’s about 10 minutes prep and 20 minutes cooking.
250g pasta spirals (I usually use macaroni or tubetti – any small pasta shape will do)
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 jersey royal potatoes or 2 large potatos, diced – I used new potatoes so left the skins on
about the same amount of pumpkin/squash, diced
500ml vegetable stock
100g red lentils
a bunch of lemon thyme (or rosemary, thyme or flat leaf parsley)
Olive Oil for frying and extra virgin olive oil to serve
I served it with lemon thyme & manchego toasts. I use manchego because it’s sheeps milk and one of my favourites but you could also use parmesan, grana padano, pecorino or similar.
Sauté the shallot for a few minutes until translucent but not brown.
Add the garlic and stir for another 2 minutes or so.
Add your stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes & pumpkin and cook for 5 minutes. Depending on the pasta shape you use you may add your pasta now. Spirals only take 5 minutes so I add them 5 minutes after the pumpkin and potatoes but if I was using macaroni I’d add it now.
When the pasta is al dente the dish is done. The pumpkin and optato should take no more than a few minutes to cook and should be quite mushy.
Adjust the consistency with more stock if necessary.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in your herb of choice. I loved the lemon thyme in this. It really lifted the flavours.
Serve in bowls garnished with lemon thyme and with toasts on the side. If you’re vegan you could just drizzle some olive oil on your toast.
It really is a carb-fest. Adds to the comfort factor I think! Enjoy.