Conchiglie with Vegetables and Aromatic Herbs
Think of this pasta as a hot vegetable salad.
– Courtesy of 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes by John Coletta with Nancy Ross Ryan
Because this is a short, sturdy pasta, it is easier to toss using a wooden spoon rather than pasta tongs, which work best for longer pastas. Some other suggestions for making this dish like an expert chef are to peel the celery — the celery strings are very fibrous and often don’t soften during cooking, resulting in a tough texture. Also, remove the thick ribs of the Savoy cabbage before you dice the leaves to improve the texture of this dish. Core the cabbage and separate the leaves, then fold each cabbage leaf in half and cut out and discard the rib.
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup diced onion
1⁄4 cup diced peeled celery
1⁄4 cup diced leek
1⁄4 cup diced deribbed Savoy cabbage
1⁄4 cup diced zucchini
1⁄4 cup diced ripe plum or Roma tomato
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup water
11⁄2 cups dry white Italian wine
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tbsp salt
1 lb dried conchiglie (see Variations, below)
3⁄4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
1. In a covered pasta pot over high heat, bring water to a rapid boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, leek, cabbage, zucchini, tomato and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add parsley, basil, sage and oregano and stir well. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. While sauce is cooking, add salt and conchiglie to boiling water and cook, uncovered, over high heat until pasta is al dente. Scoop out about 1 cup (250 mL) of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta.
4. Return vegetable mixture to high heat. Add 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the reserved pasta water and the conchiglie. Using a wooden spoon, toss to coat evenly, adding more pasta water if necessary. Add half of the Pecorino Romano and toss well.
5. Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve immediately.
Variations: In spring, substitute an equal amount of seasonal vegetables such as asparagus, carrots, fava beans, fennel or new potatoes for the leeks, cabbage and zucchini. If shell-shaped conchiglie pasta is not available, substitute penne or fusilli.
Find more pasta dishes in our Recipe File.