Saturday 16 February 2013

Pasta Shells with Tomato and Bacon Sauce Recipe

Pasta makes a quick and convenient meal at the best of times. Because of this, few people actually consider adapting pasta dishes to be cooked even more quickly in a pressure cooker.

The recipe given here is one of those oddities. A homely pasta dish of conchiglie (shell) pasta served with a bacon and tomato sauce.

Pasta Shells with Tomato and Bacon Sauce

Serves: 4


250g pasta shells (conchiglie)
1.75l (7 cups) boiling water
1 tbsp oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

For the Sauce:
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
350g lean bacon, chopped
150ml (3/5 cup) water
500g (1 lb) tomatoes, blanched, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

To Garish:
fresh parsley, chopped
freshly-grated Parmesan cheese


Combine the pasta, water, oil and 1 tsp salt in a pressure cooker. Bring to a boil then secure and seal the lid. Bring to full pressure over hight heat then reduce the heat to stabilize the pressure. Cook for 4 minutes then take off the heat and allow the pressure to reduce naturally at room temperature. Open the pressure cooker and drain the pasta into a bowl to keep warm.

Clean the pressure cooker, add the oil and heat. Stir in the onion, garlic and bacon and fry gently for 5 minutes. Now add the water (reserve 2 tbsp) and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Seal the cooker again, then bring to full pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to stabilize the pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

Take off the heat, then place under cold, running, water to reduce the pressure quickly. Add the tomatoes  and bring the mixture to a boil. Blend the cornflour (cornstarch) with the reserved water until you have a smooth slurry then work this slurry into the sauce. Bring back to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

Add the pasta, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pasta and sauce into a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley and serve accompanied by a bowl of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

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