Conchiglie, now how do you say that? I have to be honest and tell you I googled it because the way I was saying in my head, though it did have an Italian purr to it, was completely and utterly wrong. So here it is…’kon-KEEL-yay’….not what you had your head either, was it! I know, I know your just going to go back to calling them pasta shells and ignore the name on the front of the packet and I don’t blame you. We are not blessed with the array of different pasta’s available in Italy and though we love our pasta all over the world we are not even close to how much they love it over there. While shopping in a massive supermarket in Arezzo, Tuscany some years ago, we searched the place to find fresh milk….when we eventually found it it was tucked away in a tiny self standing fridge, bizarre to us but there seems to be no big demand for fresh milk as they use UHT. Two isles later, we come across the pasta isle and we were blown away, as the isle went from the back of the supermarket all the way to the front, filled on both sides with every kind of pasta you could dream of. Italians really do love pasta!
CONCHIGLIE with tiny veg and pancetta
400 g conchiglie pasta
500 ml of vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced finely
200g cauliflower chopped into small florets
200 g of courgette chopped into cm size pieces
200 g of peas
200g of pancetta
50g Parmesan grated
A large knob of butter
A handful of chopped fresh herbs, like basil or mint
Start by sweating your onion gently in a frying pan with the olive oil. Put your veg stock in a large pan. Bring to the boil and add your pasta. Top up with boiling water and a little salt so the pasta is covered well. Simmer for the time it states on the packet or until all dente. In the meantime your onions should have softened, add the cauliflower and continue to sweat, stirring every now and then. Add the peas and pancetta and continue to cook. Lastly add your courgette, stirring to cook evenly just for a minute or two. When the veg is nearly cooked add two or three ladles of the pasta water along with the Parmesan. Stain the pasta and add to the veg along with the butter stir, season and allow the pasta to soak up the lovely flavours for a minute or two. Sprinkle in your herbs and serve using a ladle so you get both pasta and stock. Top with some freshly grated Parmesan.