Giant Conchiglioni Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta

Giant Conchiglioni pasta shells stuffed with a tasty mixture of cheeses, spinach and cooked in tomato with a layer of bechamel sauce is an Italian favourite.

With a little preparation ahead this is a dish that is easy to make as an entrée for that special meal or to eat on their own.

IMG_20180429_112013-Conchiglioni 2

Giant Conchiglioni Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta

Ingredients:

Pasta and Stuffing:

  • 16 large Conchiglioni Pasta Shells
  • 500 g Spinach, cooked, and chopped
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 100 g Grana Padana Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 500 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 30 g plain flour
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of parsley, stems trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

IMG_20180429_112059-Conchiglioni Pasta Shells

Method:

Tomato Sauce:

(This sauce can be made ahead to speed up the preparation of the shells)

  1. In a large fry pan, add oil and knob of butter and heat on medium heat
  2. When the oil is hot and the butter foams add the onions and garlic and cook for 6 minutes
  3. Turn heat to high and add the white wine to the fry pan
  4. Cook for 5 minutes until the wine is absorbed
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, rosemary, basil and parsley to the onion and mix through
  6. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the sauce is thick and reduced
  7. Set aside and prepare the spinach and ricotta stuffing

Spinach and ricotta stuffing:

  1. Trim the stems from the spinach leavesIMG_20180429_111954-Spinach leaves
  2. Wash the leaves well and cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes
  3. Then drain the spinach and allow it to cool
  4. When the leaves are cold, squeeze out as much liquid from them as possible and then chop the leaves
  5. Lightly beat the egg with a fork
  6. In a large bowl, place the chopped spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper
  7. Add the beaten egg and mix through wellIMG_20180429_120502-Spinach and Ricotta
  8. Set aside while cooking the pasta shells

Cooking the Pasta Shells:

  1. Bring salted water to the boil in a large saucepan
  2. When the water boils add the pasta shells and lower the heat to medium
  3. Cook the shells for 16 mins then drain the pasta and place into a bowl to cool, drizzling a little olive oil through to stop the shells sticking together
  4. Cover and prepare the bechamel

Bechamel Sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat till bubbling
  2. Remove from the heat then make a roux by adding the flour, mixing well and seasoning  with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute
  3. Using a whisk, add the milk all at one time whisking well to dissolve the butter roux
  4. Add a pinch of nutmeg and keep stirring over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil then lower the heat and stir for one minuteIMG_20180429_122751-Bechamel sauce
  5. Remove from the heat and cover

Preparing the Pasta Shells:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180º C F
  2. Using a large casserole dish with lid, cover the base with some of the bechamel sauce and then spoon over with some of the tomato sauceIMG_20180429_123111-Tomato in Casserole
  3. Spoon the spinach and ricotta mixture into each of the pasta shells
  4. Lay the shells into the casserole dish placing them close together to keep them uprightIMG_20180429_124613-Stuffed pasta shells
  5. Drizzle over some of the tomato sauceIMG_20180429_124823-Stuffed pasta shells2
  6. Spoon over the remaining bechamel sauce and sprinkle over some extra parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepperIMG_20180429_125157-Stuffed pasta shells3
  7. Place the covered casserole dish into the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes
  8. When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutesIMG_20180429_132538-Stuffed pasta shells4
  9. Use a spoon to carefully serve the pasta shells and serve with a green garden salad
IMG_20180429_135121-Conchiglioni ripieni
Stuffed Conchiglioni, a perfect start to any meal or just eaten on their own.

 

 

 

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