Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fish with Sweet Corn Sabayon and Vegetable Stuffed Mini Pasta Shells

             Whenever I eat Italian ravioli (or Russian pelmeni, or Chinese sui mai) my husband makes fun of me because I have a habit of leaving “the edges” on the plate: using a sharp knife, I meticulously cut them off before putting the actual filling with a small piece of dough into my mouth. Even if it comes to homemade ravioli which I make with the thinnest and narrowest edges one can imagine, I still leave them on the bottom of my plate!

            No surprise, when I recently saw a picture of stuffed pasta shells (conchiglioni) in one cooking magazine, I realized that it’s just the perfect alternative of normal ravioli for me: only a thin layer of dough that encloses the stuffing – and no edges whatsoever! The problem is, you can’t get this type of Italian pasta in Kolkata (at least, I’ve never seen it here). The only thing I found in my kitchen cupboard was a pack of mini pasta shells (they are, probably, seven times as little as conchiglioni). Let’s face it: they are not meant for being stuffed! But I can be really stubborn when it comes to bringing my crazy cooking ideas into life. So, having prepared the finest brunoise of my vegetables, I managed to put half a teaspoon of the stuffing into each tiny shell. Yes, it took me quite a while to prepare a few portions (I invited our friends to estimate the results of my cooking experiment) – but it was worth the efforts! I served the shells with fish and sweet corn sabayon (the sauce that I wanted to try to make for a long time) and the whole dish was given the thumbs up!


Stuffed mini pasta shells
50 gm mini pasta shells
½ cup mixed vegetables (onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, aubergine), brunoise cut
3 tbsp olive oil
25 gm mozzarella, grated

6 white fish fillet
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet corn sabayon (the original recipe by Cat Cora)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup sweet corn
2 garlic clove, minced
500 ml heavy cream
1 egg yolk
Salt to taste


  1. For stuffed pasta shells, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and sauté the vegetables till soft. Season and let cool. Add grated mozzarella and mix well. In a large pan, bring water to a boil together with olive oil and salt. Cook pasta shells till they are almost done (al dente). Drain and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Stuff each pasta shell with ½ of the prepared filling and arrange all the shells in a single layer in a baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare fish, preheat the oven to 200C. Cut each fillet into two and brush them with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and crushed black pepper. Roll each piece of fish, secure with a toothpick and place onto a baking tray; cover it with foil and put into the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. For sweet corn sabayon, heat the olive oil over high heat and add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium heat and cook until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn and garlic and cook until the corn is tender, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and a puree the corn mixture until smooth. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Whisk in the egg yolk and place a bowl with the sauce over a pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring, till it thickens (about 10 minutes), season with salt
  5. To serve, spoon the sauce on the bottom of the plate. Carefully remove the toothpicks out of the fish and place 2 pieces of it onto each plate. Arrange stuffed pasta shells on the side.

  1. You can include some mushrooms in the stuffing of pasta shells as well. Bonus: you don’t need to dice them very finely as they will shrink as you cook them.
  2. My sweet corn sabayon was already thick enough when I blended it (it somehow reduced a lot in 10 minutes). So when I stirred in the yolk, it got much thicker than I would have preferred it to be. Another remark: next time I would probably use less onions and more corn kernels to change the balance of flavours a bit.

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