Saturday was one of those days where I’d planned to do a lot of ‘stuff’. You know…go for a run, go to a market, do odd jobs in my flat etc. Unfortunately I veered way off course on Friday night and drank too much wine, too quickly. This rendered Saturday a write-off. I’m not very good at handling my wine…or my hangovers!
So, at about 1pm on Saturday I crawled out of bed, holding my head in my hands and feeling very sorry for myself. I knew I needed to eat something but I just couldn’t do it. I had some tea. I had some water. I went back to bed.
At 3pm I started to feel very shaky and knew I absolutely had to eat something. I was going out again that night (glutton for punishment) and I had to line my stomach. ‘Pasta’ was the word that kept popping up in my head…MUST-EAT-PASTA!
I needed something to make me feel better. It needed to be quick, easy, low maintenance but also something really, really tasty.
I opened my kitchen cupboard and found exactly what I was looking for…my favourite cupboard ingredient…aubergine pesto.
I tend to stock up on this when I see it. It isn’t as easy to get hold off as it once was. Sainsbury’s seemed to have stopped stocking it, so when I’m in Waitrose, I buy 6 or 7 jars at a time so I don’t run out.
Its the perfect jar to have in your cupboard. Its simple to stir through pasta, you can spread it on puff pastry sheets and make palmiers. Its just a great thing to have to hand.
I looked around my kithchen and saw a punnet of chestnut mushrooms, a red onion and a packet of cashew nuts. I was good to go! I dropped some conchiglie (shell-shaped) pasta in some salted, simmering water and fried up the mushrooms and onions in some oil and butter. Once they were cooked, I added a handful of the cashew nuts. I like conchiglie pasta because it collects little pockets of the sauce its mixed with. In this case, it also collected cashew nuts!
12 minutes later, I drained the pasta, tossed it into the frying pan with the mushrooms, onions and nuts, then stirred through half the jar of aubergine pesto. Once it was mixed through, I plated it up.
Then, whilst I was hunting through my fridge for the parmesan cheese, I noticed a huge chunk of truffle Gouda, which I’d bought in Amsterdam the week before…
This is really quite a spectacular cheese. One of the best I’ve ever tasted. Its soft and creamy yet the truffle flavour is so pungent, its intoxicating. Surely this would be better than boring old parmesan? Indeed it was. It was heaven.
The smoky aubergine, the earthy mushrooms, the crunchy cashews, all caressed with the soft, melted pungent truffle cheese.
This would have been great on a normal day, but at 3pm on a hungover Saturday, when all I wanted was a hug, it was like mind-blowing. It was like a warm hug of comforting, smoky, cheesy, truffly goodness. And it was all done in 15 minutes!