This is pretty much my favourite meal of all time so I put it on the meal plan for my birthday week. We don’t have it too often and I think that’s part of the appeal in a way but it speaks to my cheesey, veggie and carb loving soul! Mr and I tagged teamed making this on Saturday (generally we don’t cook together – something about too many chiefs and not enough Indians comes to mind!) but we needed this quickly. The toddler has become an intermittently fussy eater so I was nervous popping this down in front of him. I needn’t have been though as he devoured it.
This recipe makes enough for all four of us and another serve for the freezer.
1 packet of conchiglione – the large pasta shells
1 packet of frozen spinach
2 cloves of garlic
A good handful of fresh herbs – we used marjoram, basil and parsley but hey, whatever floats your boat
A good dash of olive oil
A good knob of butter
Half a teaspoon of nutmeg (grate them freshly if you can)
2 tins chopped tomatoes or 1 large bottle of tomato passata
500 grams of fresh ricotta cheese
A good handful of Parmesan cheese + more to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the conchiglione for half the cooking time on the side of the packet. If you are doing this in advance rinse off with cold water quite quickly. It will help them stay separate. I did it in parallel with the next step and still rinsed but it’s not as important.
As I am of the make less dishes camp I heated the stainless steel lasagne dish I was cooking these in over a medium heat, adding the oil and butter. When pan is heated add in your spinach (I did it straight from the freezer) and cook down, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, nutmeg and fresh herbs and cook until there is hardly any liquid coming from the spinach. It needs to be a pretty dry mix but don’t stress too much! Turn off and allow to cool slightly.
Add ricotta, Parmesan and spinach mixture to a large bowl and mix – for extra protein for the kidlets I will add an egg to this mix in the future too. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour tomatoes into bottom of the tray you used for spinach.
Spoon the ricotta mix into the shells – don’t over fill them but don’t be stingy either – and line them up in the lasagne dish until all filled.
Cover them with a good sprinkle of Parmesan and some bread crumbs. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 – 30 mins until they start to look quite well cooked – you can tell by looking at the pasta itself. Then uncover and allow to brown for another 10-15 minutes – you could grill them at this stage if you really like!
Try not to burn your mouth as you eat these tasty morsels of awesomeness!