Friday 12 August 2011

Friday Feast - Conchiglioni Pasta with Mushroom Ragu

Friday and time for another recipe. My 'big word for today' has to be conchiglioni I think? Those big pasta shells are great for chunky sauces, or you could use another chunky pasta shape if preferred.

It's another favourite and I made it last night - in between screaming for the return of my laptop from my in-house IT chappie (who is installing Ubuntu for me as Microsoft is driving me crazy) and feeding Misty and Penny, our neighbours' cats. Misty, the 'peeping Thomasina' is becoming very friendly - next thing she'll be perched on the garden table waiting for a little glass of wine as evening approaches!

Anyhow, I digress, so back to the recipe:

Serves 4 

350g (12oz) conchiglioni shells
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
250g (8 oz) mushrooms, sliced
300g (10 oz) lean minced beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150ml (5 fl oz) red wine
2 tablespoons tomato puree
45ml (3 tablespoons) chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano
50ml (5fl oz) single cream, or half fat cream for a slimmer option
1 x 125g pack light mozzarella, chopped

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the pasta shells in boiling salted water for 15 mins or according to packet instructions. Drain, then tip into a 1.4 lt (2.5 pint) ovenproof dish. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat for 6-8 mins, stirring until nicely browned. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the mince, onion and garlic and cook over a high heat for 5 mins until browned. Add the red wine, tomato puree, oregano and plenty of seasoning then bring to the boil, stirring well. Simmer for 4 mins or until reduced. Add cream and mushrooms and simmer for a further 5 mins until nicely reduced. 
  4. Spoon over the pasta shells, then stir well so that it fills the pasta. Scatter over the cheeses and pop under a hot grill. Cook for 3 mins or until the top is golden brown. Serve straight away.
    Little things I do differently - if you're going for cream, why ever go for the slimmer option huh? I also buy the supermarket's own brand of Mozzarella - which might not always be 'light', usually in those sealed bags of liquid that are such fun to squidge! 
    Another thing I do is to make the sauce runnier by adding some more wine (yay!) - my excuse is that it's easier to pop the assembled dish into the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, leaving time to clear up the chaos of pans before we eat. It doesn't dry out in the oven with more wine in (double yay!).
    I often wonder why our supermarket stores things like Mozzarella right on the top shelf of the cheese chiller cabinet - many a time I have to ask for a taller person to reach up for one. OK, I'm not a midget but I wasn't at the front of the queue when they were handing out height either.

    And, I certainly don't take any risks since I ended up in their accident book after a can of baked beans slipped from my grasp after I'd managed to stretch to the limit and tried to get it from a top shelf. Soooooo embarrassing, it bounced straight onto the bridge of my nose and left me with a split beak and a nosebleed. They insisted that a report went into their accident book ('Elf an' Safety madam' they said). Once they knew I was fine though I could see the supervisor's shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter as the circumstances were solemnly recorded.

    Sometimes I really shouldn't be allowed out to play!


  1. Hmmm, this one looks worth a try too . . . except I might have to lower the alchohol content due to DH's allergy (even though he's highly insured!!! LOL!).

    Hugs, Sarn xxx

  2. Nice one Sarn! I bet it would be fine with just water added - perhaps a mix of water and passata even? Hugs, Di xx

  3. OOOH Di this looks SO YUMMY and something my Jim would love. Must try it soon. BTW you chicken pilaf was a big hit.

  4. This is a great dish just what l had in mind for Saturday thank you for sharing it :) Sandra H

  5. Hello Di, I think this is one my DH would enjoy so thanks, will give it a try sometime soon - that's if I can persuade him to part with some red wine to cook with :) Elizabeth x

  6. I would love this but hubby won't eat beef - I suppose I could use double mushrooms or maybe lamb mince. x jo


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