To give this recipe its full due, it’s actually, “Roasted Broccoli and Bacon Conchiglie Bake with Lemon Creme Fraiche” , or, as I described it to Nicholas when he arrived in the kitchen and asked what was for dinner, “A Broccoli, Bacon and Pasta Bake.”
I chose this recipe not only because this family loves roasted broccoli, but also because we still had some leftover holiday stilton and unused pancetta sitting in the refrigerator, and this was the perfect vehicle for them both. (An aside: The quandary of using leftover holiday stilton is not limited to just our family, since I was discussing this very recipe with a friend who had the same problem. Ah, January.)
The eagle-eyed among you may notice that I did not actually use conchiglie here. I decided to use this fun swirly shape instead (apologies for not noting the technical name) because this pasta is much better than Sainsbury’s own-brand, which has an overwhelming tang of nutmeg that none of us are fond of. Given the pasta was such a main component of the dish, we pushed the boat out and got the fancy kind.
Like many recipes in this book, this is very straightforward. Roast the broccoli and the pancetta while the pasta is cooking on the stovetop. Once the pasta is done, mix it in, along with a few handfuls of spinach and the lemon creme fraiche. Finish the whole thing off with some breadcrumbs and the aforementioned stilton on the top.
The recipe calls for parmesan but she says in the notes that stilton and cheddar would work equally well. But I’m here to argue that I think using stilton is actually a little better, because it makes the whole thing more interesting that bog-standard parmesan. (Sorry, parmesan, but it’s true. Ya Basic.)
We all loved this. It was the perfect cheery meal for a grey January night. The fact that it was so easy was a brilliant bonus.