A classic Italian pasta recipe – conchiglioni (pasta shells) are stuffed with a delicious ricotta and spinach mixture and baked with a simple tomato sauce. Great comfort food that is delicious, creamy, flavorful and easy to make.
32jumbo pasta shells (Conchiglioni)(ca 250g)
690gglass organic tomato passata
sea salt and freshly ground pepper,to taste
For the filling:
1tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil
1small to medium yellow onion,diced
2 garlic cloves,minced
450gfrozen spinach(thawed or fresh spinach, hard stems removed)
2x 250 g container ricotta cheese
40ggrated parmesan cheese
2tablespoonsfinely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2teaspoondried chili flakes
3tablespoonspine nuts,lightly toasted
1/4teaspoonsea salt(or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper,to taste
Cook the pasta shells in a large pot of salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C and lightly oil one shallow 4-liter oven-proof dish or two 2-liter dishes. (I used a 2-liter dish and a cast iron skillet)
For the filling: heat the oil in a medium skillet and saute the onions and garlic until translucent and lightly browned. Transfer to a large bowl.
If using frozen spinach, make sure it is completely thawed, then squeeze excess liquid from it.
If using fresh spinach, blanch or steam the spinach until wilted, drain. Rinse under cold water, drain and squeeze excess liquid from spinach. Chop finely.
Add the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, parsley, chili, and pine nuts to the bowl with the onion. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.
Spoon the spinach ricotta mixture into the pasta shells.
Combine the tomato paste, tomato sauce and broth together in a bowl (or jug) and pour into dishes. Place the pasta shells in the dishes, sprinkle with half the additional parmesan cheese.
Cover the dishes with foil (or ovenproof lid), transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Remove foil, bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let stand for a few minutes, then top with remaining parmesan.
Serve and enjoy!
I sometimes make this with a little mint in the filling. For fans of mint, add 1 tablespoon freshly chopped fresh mint along with the parsley.
This dish also makes fabulous leftovers since the stuffed shells reheat well. I cover mine and reheat them in the oven. If you are worried about them drying out, then sprinkle with a tiny bit of water.
The shells are cooked for 5 minutes so that they are still quite firm (full cooking time is 16 minutes for the pasta I use).