How about pasta tonight? Maybe not as quick as tossing cooked pasta with a simple sauce this time, but it’s worth all the extra effort and love you put in it. The flavourful rich filing of pasta, brie, fish, lentils and sundried tomatoes makes this dish nothing like any stuffed vegetables you tasted before. The courgette and aubergine melting into the sauce gives the creamy sauce a lighter structure and the flavourful bites of the sundried tomatoes twists the whole thing around.
Don`t let yourself be discouraged by the fancy name, filini is the name of dried pasta in a shape of 4-5 centimetre long thin strands. You might use them every week and not even know you are cooking filini. It is mostly used in soups, but I decided to use them here because I wanted something that works well with this thick sauce. I really like how the little threads are making a contrast in the structure of the filling and gives it an interesting look. If you wouldn`t have filini you can use spaghetti that you break in 3-5 centimetre pieces or other pasta sorts that would match this thick sauce.
To have the right structure of the boats and to make it look good the vegs aren`t peeled in this recipe. That means that it is important to make sure that you only use fresh ingredients, if the vegs are a bit older the skin might get a bit thicker and that would make the base chewy and less appealing. Usually the smaller courgettes are a bit younger, and the skin is thinner, but size is not everything: just check that the skin is smooth and it doesn`t feel soft on the touch when you are buying them.
Ingredients (for 6 veggie boats):
- 200 ml water
- 200 grams of white fish filet (can be frozen)
- 2 aubergine
- 1 courgette
- 150 grams of filini
- 180 grams of brie cheese (or camembert)
- 30 grams of sundried tomatoes
- 100 grams of cooked brown lentils
- a bunch of fresh sage
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon breadcrumbs
In a heavy bottomed pan boil 200 millilitre water and cook fish for 2 minutes. If you use frozen fish put it in the pan frozen and boil until it is defrosted (5-10 minutes, check if it is defrosted by poking a fork in the middle). This is just precooking, it will still have some time in the oven so it doesn`t need to be cooked long. Remove from pan and cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Cut courgette and aubergine lengthwise and scrape the flesh out with a spoon, be careful not to cut through the skin. You can help with a knife by making small cuts on the sides so that only the bottom needs to be cut with the spoon. Chop the flesh coarsely and tip into the pan. Set the fire low, add pasta and mix with vegetables. Add more water if needed, but it does not need to be completely covered (the vegetables will let some juices out). Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Slice cheese and add to the pot, mix and check that it is not burning to the bottom (add small amounts of water if needed). Let the cheese melt in and cook until the pasta is cooked and the mixture is creamy. Chop sage and add to the sauce with the fish and lentils.
Pre heat oven to 180 C. Cut the bell pepper lengthwise and remove seeds and white parts from inside. Spread olive oil in a baking tray and arrange vegetable boats on it. Spread the pasta in the vegs, sprinkle top with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.