Friday, 29 August 2008

Storecupboard cooking: squash pasta bake

Oh I wish I had a pantry. We have two cupboards of dry goods, plus some more things hanging about on top of the microwave, and a while ago they were both so full as to make opening them a bit of a hairy business. After both of us had nearly sustained an injury from falling wasabi I thought I'd better take it in hand and a) tidy it, and b) start actively trying to use up some of the hundreds of different pasta types I seem to have accumulated. Here is the offending shelf after tidying (note box to minimise falling condiment damage):

So I now have a new aim - to cook one dish a week based on the storecupboard. This week: a squash pasta bake (though actually the pasta I used was one of the microwave-toppers, so I have yet to make a dent in the box!). The reason we've ended up in this woeful state of cupboard-carb-overload is that we don't eat pasta too much, although we both like it. So this should be quite a pleasing challenge, especially as the days start to move gradually and irrevocably towards autumn. There's little that hits the spot better on a cold day than a hearty pasta bake. For this one I roasted a small squash (grown in Hampshire, coincidentally, where The Scientist hails from), and made a simple tomato and herb sauce with some borlotti beans added to it because that's what I had to hand. I cooked the pasta shapes separately, and then combined everything in the dish, sprinkled it with some nice goats cheese, and baked it for about 25 minutes in a hottish oven. Hardly rocket science, but pretty healthy and balanced.

I was very pleased with the results. The squash was meltingly soft, the beans added nice protein and a bit of texture, and the cheese had a lovely mild flavour and a bit of crunch where it had crisped up (don't you think that's always the best bit?). So far so good with the storecupboard challenge. I even persuaded The Scientist to take care of another packet from the box, though I was disappointed that it popped up white. I was hoping for pink!

6 comments:

Johanna said...

ooh - nice redesign of your site

I do have a pantry (not a huge one) but I still have shelves like this which are just too full of grains and foodstuffs I never (or rarely) use

I like your resolve to use them up - good example to people like me - and the pasta bake sounded delish!

Lysy said...

Glad you like the new look! I fancied a bit of a change and something a bit more personal.

I'm very envious of your pantry. I have to admit that a lot of my grains and things lurk in the baking cupboard and the one in the picture has a very busy shelf above it stuffed with tins and beans! Still,hopefully I'll be able to report a slimming down of the pasta box over the next few months (just in time to fill it up with new goodies!)

Ilana said...

how long for the squash baking? our oven should be back in action on tuesday... i lurve pasta bakes, but never make them...

Lysy said...

I keep forgetting to ask about your oven - what happened to it?

I'd start checking it after about 25 mins or so. Give it a bit of a shake about in the middle as well. Obstinate veggies like potatoes and parsnips can take longer, but there's no harm in leaving it too long - it just goes more mushy (until you get to Jerusalem artichoke cinder stage :))

Ilana said...

it just curled up in a ball and refused to go above gas mark 0. but the guy didn't come today so still no oven! grrrr...

i have found the most amazing quorn product at the quorn-ucopia that is the Westgate sainsburys - quorn scotch eggs! mmmmmm....

Lysy said...

Hmm, I haven't come across too many recipes which bake at Gas mark 0. How annoying for you - I hope it gets fixed soon.

So, a new Quorn product, eh? Sounds a bit weird to me, but I may cautiously give it a look next time I'm in town. Actually they sound like good picnic food (suddenly enthusiastic!)