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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pretty is as pretty does

Near my office there is an Italian cafe run for the benefit of Italian and Southwark autistic people. I'm not sure what that means, but they do good sandwiches and delicious soups, and sell Italian products for Enormous Amounts of Money. Sadly for my bank balance, those products are generally so good that I cannot resist spending the money.
Most recently I bought some beautiful coloured striped pasta in the shape of little sombreros. I'm too embarassed to tell you how much I paid for it, so I'll move swiftly on to what I did with it, even though that was far from a triumph.
The packet suggested stuffing them, then baking with a sauce over them. Fair enough. I roasted a small butternut squash and  puréed it with melted butter and garlic, plus generous amounts of salt and pepper. Meantime, I flung the pasta in boiling water for three minutes, as suggested on the packet, then sat them on a teatowel to drain.
Each little hat got a filling of squash, and then was sat on its individual base (the whole process was extraordinarily cute, or finicky, depending on your mood) in a baking tray. I then poured a tomato sauce over them and topped the whole lot with torn gobbets of mozzarella, covered everything with tinfoil and shoved it in the oven as suggested.

Turns out, if you want to show off your gorgeous stripey pasta hats, smothering them in tomato sauce and mozzarella is not the best course of action. It further turns out that three minutes in boiling water was not nearly long enough to cook the pasta, particularly as the peaks of the hats remained poking out of the sauce, ending up much crisper than pasta is traditionally supposed to be.
But we are not downhearted! (NO!). We're going to cook them again on Sunday for friends. I know this time to boil the hats for longer, but how can I serve them looking pretty, but not horribly dry?


Anonymous said...

If the cap fits?

Jack said...

It will be fine... Until the kitten mauls your face... Better luck next time Suckerrrrrr!

Anonymous said...

If life is too short to stuff a mushroom, isn't it also too short to stuff a pasta hat? Couldn't the butternut squash be in a sauce around the pretty hats?

Anonymous said...

If life is too short to stuff a mushroom, isn't it also too short to stuff pasta hats? Couldn't the butternut squash be in a sauce round the pretty hats?