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Italian Stuffed Pasta Bake

A creative way to stuffed pasta

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/5
(
0
reviews)
SERVES
3
Cooks in
50
min
LEVEL
Child's Play
SERVES
3
Cooks in
50
min
level
Child's Play

Instructions

Conchiglioni is a type of large pasta shell that is perfect for stuffing with a variety of fillings. In this Italian recipe, we will be using creamy ricotta cheese and wilted spinach as the filling, which is also often used in stuffed cannelloni. The conchiglioni are baked in the oven until the pasta is tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly. This gives you time to clean the kitchen before putting the food on the table, so you don’t have to clean up the mess afterward.

This tray bake is a very simple meal that uses a lot of pantry ingredients, so perfect for a weeknight dinner or to prepare in advance. The combination of creamy ricotta, spinach, and tomato sauce is a classic and always a hit with the whole family.

ingredients for this tray-bake

Step 1 
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Cook the pasta for ⅔ of the package instructions, then drain and set aside. In this case, the instructions indicated 13 min, so we drained the pasta after 8-9 min. Now clean and chop your onions and garlic. 

Step 2
Add all of the onions, the basil stems finely chopped,  and half of the garlic to a preheated frying pan on medium heat with a splash of olive oil. After two minutes start wilting the spinach in the same pan and add your garlic at the end. Put the spinach mixture in a bowl and quickly clean your pan with kitchen paper. 

Step 3
Now it’s time to add the rest of the olive oil (about 50 ml) to the pan and add the rest of the garlic. Fry for about 1 minute on medium heat and then add your tomato paste and optional chili flakes; fry for an additional 2 minutes before adding your canned tomatoes. Let this simmer for about ten minutes, while we are stuffing our pasta shells.

Step 4
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, wilted spinach mixture, half of the parmesan cheese, egg, and some pepper and salt. Now stuff your precooked pasta shells with this mixture. Turn off your tomato sauce and add half of the basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan. It is time to assemble!

Step 5
In your baking tray add the tomato sauce and then carefully add the stuffed pasta with the open side pointing upwards. Now we finish off the pasta shells with the leftover parmesan and the panko bread crumbs. The breadcrumbs absorb the excess fat from the cheese and make sure you will get those crunchy edges. bake for about 20-30 minutes and let it rest for 5 minutes outside the oven before you dig in. Garnish with the fresh basil leaves and enjoy!

Chefs tip
"This recipe is for about three people, but if you serve it with a delicious/simple side salad it will easily feed four! Personally, I like to combine this pasta bake with arugula and artichoke salad. I also like to make smaller traybakes in your typical Spanish terracotta dishes, so everybody gets their own."

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