Pasta Shells With Vegetables in Tomato Cream Sauce. World Cuisine Today
In Greece, as in other parts of the Mediterranean region, pasta is a popular lunch or dinner treat. With the versatile shapes available, and fresh vegetables, there is always something delicious to try. One popular type of sauce is a tomato cream sauce with garlic, fresh herbs and vegetables which hold up to the cook time of the dish. Try to choose firmer vegetables, if you do not have the exact ones on hand. Pasta also lends itself to creativity and variations. Serve with a fresh Greek salad of your choice and some crusty country style bread drizzled with some olive oil and aged Kefalograviera or Parmesan cheese. For dessert, try a traditional Baklava pastry.
Pictured above a traditional Elliniki style Greek Salad.
Pictured above, Baklava pastry with honey and nuts.
This recipe may be prepared vegetarian style, with a firm fish filet or with shrimp. Below is the fish version of the recipe.
Pasta Shells With Vegetables in Tomato Cream Sauce with Codfish
One pound Codfish or Tilapia fillets skinned and deboned
One pound pasta shells
One large yellow or white onion
Three large carrots
One small bunch of cauliflower (two cups florets)
One small bunch of broccoli (two cups florets)
Eight cups freshly pureed tomatoes
One cup cream
One cup whole milk
Four large cloves garlic
One cup Kretikos white Greek wine or Sauvignon Blanc (use a dry white that is not bitter)
One Tablespoon granulated sugar or light brown sugar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Two Tablespoons fresh basil minced (two teaspoons dried)
Two Tablespoons fresh oregano minced (two teaspoons dried)
Three teaspoons Kosher salt
Two teaspoons ground white pepper or black pepper
One cup fresh aged Kefalograviera cheese grated
One cup Kalamata olives (optional)
Extra fresh herbs for garnish
12 cups water
One long loaf of Greek style peasant bread, or French Baguette
Extra virgin olive oil
Kefalograviera or Parmesan grated
1) In a large Dutch oven place one Tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil. Peal wash and mince two cloves of the garlic and sautee with the olive oil for one minute. Peel and mince the onion and sautee in a bit more of the oil until softened. Pour the wine out in a small measuring cup and whisk in the sugar. Add this to the pot and simmer for a few minutes. Next add the tomato puree, salt, pepper, and herbs. Bring to a boil then reduce to low semi covered for roughly fifteen minutes.
2) Grate your Kefalograviera or Parmesan and set to the side. Wash, pit and roughly dice your olives (if using).
3) In a high sided pan filled with water place your fish fillets. Add the additional two cloves of minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. You may add some additional herbs if you wish. Simmer the fillets until cooked through but firm six minutes or less. Remove with a slotted spoon and cut into one inch square pieces.
4) Rince and wash your pot. Fill again with water and bring to a boil. Cook your pasta until al dente according to the package length of time for this depending on the size of the shells. Add a bit of salt and olive oil to the water but only a pinch of each. Drain immediately in a colander.
5) In a soup pot cook your florets and carrots until al dente. They should be slightly firm still. Drain with slotted spoon and add to the tomato sauce mixture. Simmer an additional ten minutes.
6) Gently fold the pasta into the sauce and vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil and then simer three minutes. Take off the heat and gradually swirl in the cream. Fold in the fish squares. Bring gradually to a warm simmer but do not boil or the cream will curdle.
To serve place in a hot serving dish and serve family style with the olives and cheese over the top. Serve the bread with it sliced into rounds with olive oil and additional cheese. Excellent also with a fresh salad as an appetizer or with your meal and a dessert of your choice like a piece of warm Baklava.
World Cuisine Today Magazine www.worldcuisinetoday.com
October 26, 2018