Thursday, January 31, 2008

Conchiglioni with roasted tomato sauce

Last night we had a very delicious pasta dish which I would recommend as a good meal for the night before a race. The pasta and the tomatoes have a low glycaemic index and so will release energy to your muscles slowly and gradually, the tomatoes are a rich source of several nutrients, including a vitamin C, vitamin A, and B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium). They are also a good source of fibre and the antioxidant lycopene (good for fighting disease). This pasta is light on the stomach and it is quick and easy to make!

I like to slow roast tomatoes at this time of year because it gives them a lovely deep flavour. They are so disappointing eaten raw at the moment. The children love this pasta because you can pop the sauce inside the shell and then eat it with your fingers - messy but fun. My daughter likes to pop fresh spinach leaves into the shell with the sauce, my son likes to add pieces of feta cheese or mozzarella...whatever makes them happy!

Conchiglioni with roasted tomato sauce
Serves 4-5

500g Conchiglioni
8 decent sized vine tomatoes
1/2 bottle of sugocasa (just to add a bit of bulk, you can use more fresh tomatoes instead if you have them)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
glug of olive oil
1tsp demerara sugar
Plenty of salt and black pepper
1 flaked dried chilli (optional)
big bunch of basil, chopped, saving a few leaves for decoration
feta cheese, cubed or slices of buffalo mozzarela
5 rashers streaky bacon or prosciutto (optional)

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet.

  2. Sprinkle over balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper and place in the oven at about 170.

  3. Add the garlic about 5 minutes before you remove from the oven - after about 30-40 minutes.

  4. Transfer to a saucepan, scraping off all the caramelised bits as well, add the sugocasa and chilli if you are using it and cook very gently, covered, for another 20 minutes or so, stirring every now and then.

  5. Add more balsamic, olive oil, seasoning, maybe some lea & perrins etc to taste. Add the chopped basil at the last minute.

  6. Grill the bacon until really crispy

  7. Cook the pasta shells in salted water according to pack instructions - warning, you need a really big pan if you are cooking 500g! When you drain the pasta, leave some of the cooking liquid to stop it getting sticky, and add some olive oil.

  8. Serve the pasta in large individual pasta dishes with some sauce on top. Place a slice of bacon on top with some basil leaves and pieces of feta/mozzarella sprinkled over.

  9. Enjoy

Off to do 11 miles today...

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