The first meal with no meat. One of at least 2 a week. It was better than expected. I made a stuffed seashell pasta, also known as Conchiglioni, because the shape of the pasta is like that of a Conch Shell.
I found the recipe from a Blog I have been reading for a couple of months. http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
The recipe comes in Grams… and because I never measure anything I just used it as a base, but if you are one to measure ingredients to a T… Here is a conversion website. http://www.onlineconversion.com/weight.htm
I chose to add to the original recipe some spinach and some fresh basil and tarragon. I was pleasantly surprised. And if you have never made Pomodori sauce you really should. The flavors are incredible. I use it for my Ultimate Meatballs. Delicious.
I served it beside a Greek salad with a vinaigrette and of course Green Olives, but without the Feta. The dinner as a whole turned out quite nice. Below I will post the original recipe. It only makes a serving of two.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can change it up and stuff the shells however you like. I have read of variations with mushrooms, sauasage, or beef, it is so versatile. So if you have never had a conchiglioni, give it a whirl!
This recipe you can make the stuffed shells and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Conchiglioni Ripieni/Stuffed Conchiglioni
8 Conchiglioni (large pasta shells)
150 grams ricotta (you cannot use the supermarket variety, it’s too soft – find a deli and buy a piece cut from the traditional basked pressed rounds)
15 grams grated Parmigiano Reggiano
salt and freshly ground white pepper
Sugo di Pomodori/Tomato Sauce
1 medium red onion, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely
1 stalk celery, diced finely
3 stalks parsley, stalks chopped finely, leaves roughly sliced
1 can diced Italian tomatoes, or use diced ripe Roma tomatoes if in season
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
You need to cook the shells until almost cooked – it’s good to leave a little bite in the pasta as it will continue cooking in the oven and needs to be firm enough not to break when filling. When they are cooked, drain and allow to cool. There’s no need to be adding oil to the cooked pasta just separate them and they won’t stick.
Make the filling:
Place the ricotta and Parmigiano into a bowl and stir well. Add the chopped chives and mix through – taste and then season with salt and white pepper.
Make the Pomodori:
Heat a good dollop of olive oil in a deep sided pan and then add the onions, carrot, celery and parsley stalks – the mix needs to sizzle when it hits the oil, this is the key to the flavour development. The vegetables have to sauté and not stew. This is also something that does take a little time – the mix will soften and caramelise and you’ll notice a wonderful aroma coming from the pan. This should take about 15 minutes.
Now add the canned or fresh tomatoes, increase the heat slightly to keep the mix bubbling. Add salt and freshly ground pepper and sauté this for 5 minutes before turning the heat down slightly and allowing the mix to cook down and the excess water to evaporate. The flavour of the tomatoes will intensify and the mixture thicken and darken, becoming wonderfully rich. Toss in the chopped parsley leaves at the end of the cooking process.
Now while you are making the Pomodori you will have boiled and cooled the shells and made the filling.
Assemble the dish:
Loosely fill the shells with the ricotta mixture – don’t overfill or press down too tightly or the shells might burst. Less is very often more.