Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shells stuffed with free range bacon bits, spinach and mozzarella

Saturday Market
I served these on Saturday at the market to show-case my bacon and they received rave reviews, although many, including me, thought that they were unnecessarily elaborate for that purpose. When I took this up with the domestic goddess, ( she insists that I refer to her as such in this piece) and CEO of our family home, who made them for me, she pointed out that I am so “snoep” with my “free off- cuts” that she needed to stretch them as far as possible. What this recipe does show, as she so astutely observed, is that the flavour and texture of my bacon is so intense that one needs very much less of it to have the same impact when combining this with other strong flavours. 
I promised to post the recipe so here it is folks.
1 packet giant pasta shells
A little splash of local olive oil (not that imported Italian junk)
Couple cloves chopped garlic
A good handful of free range bacon bits
4- 5 canned Italian tomatoes
15ml fresh bread crumbs
60ml cream or yogurt
2 cups ricotta or mozzarella cheese
Two handfuls of chopped well drained cooked spinach
3 leaves of fresh basil
A small handful of grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook pasta shells until al dente.  Rinse and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan and sauté garlic and bacon until crisp.
Squeeze tomatoes with your hands over sink and add pulp to pan.
Stir in bread crumbs and then add cream/yogurt.
Stir well over the heat until mixture has lost most of the moisture and is quite dry.
Place all the cheese in a bowl with bacon/garlic and spinach and mix well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste – bear in mind that the bacon is fairly savoury already.
Stuff shells with filling and then place together in an oiled, shallow ovenproof dish.
5 minutes before you want to eat bake at 180ºC until cheese is melted and golden.
Sprinkle with basil and serve.

I’m out to cure the world

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