Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Zucchini Hash with Mushrooms & Potatoes; Stuffed Shells
This dish comes in the nature of a using-up-the-veggies exercise too - I had some nice zucchini and a couple of very tiny white potatoes (what did I mean to do with those, I wonder). Lunch loomed. So I took a look at what was in the veg bin and came up with:
ZUCCHINI HASH WITH MUSHROOMS & POTATOES
1 stick celery, chopped in small rounds
1 yellow cooking onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small potatoes, diced
1-1/2 zucchini, chopped in quarter-'moons' (amount depends on size - enough for two hungry people is what I used
5 or 6 or more mushrooms, roughly chopped
optional: a tsp minced ginger or to taste (I tend to put it in a lot of things)
pinch of crushed chilies or to taste
salt (if you use it) and pepper to taste
I softened the onion and celery in a little water and threw the potato in with them to cook (the dice was small, so they didn't take long), added the zucchini, mushrooms, ginger and chilies when the potatoes were almost done, careful not to overcook the zucchini. I served garnished with celery leaves and added in a tomato, fennel and onion side salad.
The next dish was in the nature of an experiment. One day, feeling creative but lazy (the latter means I didn't want to shop before lunch) I found some giant pasta shells I had bought to make a completely different dish and never used. So this is what I dreamed up:
Giant Pasta Shells for two persons (I used a little over 4 ounces, 120 grammes)
1/2 lb extra-firm low-fat tofu
a couple of slices of onion, finely chopped
4 or 5 mushrooms, finely chopped
two handfuls of basil, chopped
a pinch of cayenne, if you like it (we do)
salt and pepper to taste
two or so cups home-made tomato pasta sauce (from my freezer - you could use your favourite)
handful of torn basil to be added before going in oven
crumby cheezy topping for dish for baking
I cooked the shells and, meanwhile, heated the oven to 350 F, crumbled the tofu into a bowl and set the onion and mushrooms to soften and cook in a little water while I chopped the basil and defrosted the pasta sauce.
When the onion and mushrooms were cooked, I added them to the tofu along with the chopped basil and zapped the whole thing with the wand blender, to form a kind of creamy ricotta-like mixture. Season.
I spooned the mixture into the shells, added a few pieces of torn basil leaves to each stuffed shell, poking them into the mix with a naughty finger.
In a flat baking dish, I added a little of the pasta sauce - to just cover the bottom - lined up the shells as prettily as I could, added the rest of the sauce and sprinkled my own mix of equal parts cashews, crumbs and nutritional yeast (all ground together with oregano, paprika and pepper) over the top.
I baked in the oven for around 25 minutes covered, then removed the cover for a few minutes at the end.
I had never but NEVER stuffed shells before, and these were dead simple and very nice! They disappeared so fast that it was all I could do to snap a blurry photo before they were consumed! There were no leftovers.