Saturday, 7 March 2009

stuffed shells

I've been wanting mole-inspired things ever since I made that chocolate dinner cake a while ago, but mole takes forever, and it was Friday night, and I was at work until 7:30 and had had a looooooooong week of being repeatedly struck down by the fickle and vindictive gods of molecular biology. So I wasn't up for making anything futzy and neat and delicate. On the other hand, I had spent the entire week being repeatedly struck down by the fickle and vindictive gods of molecular biology, so I wanted something cushy and comforting and chocolatey. So this is relatively easy, but still enough to feel like a celebratory dinner. After all, I suspect that the gods will eventually find a new victim. This was a very satisfying dinner, and since I already had cooked lentils in the fridge, only took about half an hour to pull together. I love how it looked so messy, especially after a week of extra carefully moving around microliters of ridiculously expensive enzymes, and taking care of microorganisms under sterile conditions, and keeping all the damn identical tiny tubes of minute amounts of clear liquid carefully labelled and organzied. A chocolatey mess was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Pasta shells stuffed with this:
In enough white wine to just cover , cook these (you can also use veg stock, or diluted white wine, or even a light beer):
a chopped onion
a chopped parsnip
some capers
some garlic (4-5 cloves)
some oregano
4-6 chopped sundried tomatoes (no need to rehydrate them first, they'll cook up)

When the onion is translucent, add:
2c cooked puy lentils
1/3 c cocoa nibs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash cloves
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp grated ginger
black pepper
a chopped chipotle pepper
dash smoked paprika
about a tbs of chopped capers
salt to taste

Simmer for a while (any liquid should evaporate) When it's all done, put your pasta on to cook. Once you have the pasta going, add 2-4 tbs flour dissolved in 1/2 c water to your hot lentils, keeping them on low heat. This will thicken them up. Once they thicken up, turn the heat off.

Sauce: 1 c balsamic vinegar, reduced to a third of a cup. Once reduced, add 15g good chocolate. It will just melt in. set aside.

When the pasta's done, stuff each shell with the lentil mixture. Drizzle with the balsamic sauce. If you want to make this fancier, make ravioli out of it using fresh pasta dough. Serve with steamed broccoli that's been doused with lemon juice. A carrot salad would also be nice, but I was out of carrots.

1 comment:

medici said...

Mmmmm, these were delicious, and so gorgeous next to the sprigs of bright green steamed broccoli. Actually, I'm hungry right now ... I wonder what I have in the fridge? Pictures of great food do things to me ...