Recipe: Conchiglioni Rigati Stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta

Conchiglioni Rigati Stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta

I have a lot of love for unfashionable foods. There’s a Delia Smith rice salad recipe from the ’90’s, for example, that I adore; it includes tinned tuna, diced red peppers and an actual vinaigrette dressing on the rice. I know. Prawn cocktail is another excellent example, as are steak slice, cod in parsley sauce or corned beef and pickle sandwiches.

I feel like gigantic stuffed pasta is going the way of rice salad. These pasta shells are something I remember seeing often on US blogs around 10 years ago, and this recipe does feel very American somehow. The fact that it’s slightly dated just makes me love it more.

Conchiglioni Rigati Stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta

I wrote recently that spinach is one of my favourite vegetables and my mate texted me all like, ‘f*cking SPINACH?!’ and I said yeah.. before I realised that it’s only one of my favourite vegetables when it’s mixed with either white cheese in a pie/borek or with copious amounts of ricotta for pasta. And here we are.

The stuffed shells are sitting in a rich and sweet but actually quite basic bitch tomato sauce that’s really easy to make, and I ramped up the excitement a little bit by adding an anchovy crumb on top. More carbs = more fun.

Conchiglioni Rigati with Spinach and Ricotta

Conchiglioni Rigati Stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta Recipe

200g conchiglioni rigati (you’ll need around 20 shells but cook a few extra in case they break)
600g spinach, washed
250g ricotta (get the best quality you can find)
225g sourdough breadcrumbs
50g tin anchovies in oil
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 large glass red wine
3 tins chopped tomatoes (again, quality matters here)

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and soften the onion gently without colouring for around 10 minutes. Add the wine and let it be absorbed, stirring it to prevent sticking. Add the garlic and let it cook, stirring, for a minute or so.

Pour in the tomatoes, add some salt and pepper then put the lid on and cook for 45 minutes covered. Take the lid off and reduce by 1/4.

Make the anchovy crumb by melting the anchovies in their oil in a frying pan. Add the crumbs and fry, stirring, until crisp but not too golden (they will carry on toasting in the oven).

Cook the pasta shells until they are halfway cooked – they still need to be quite hard as they’re going to carry on cooking in the oven. Drain and run them under cold water to cool them down.

Put the washed spinach into a pan over a low heat with a lid on and let it wilt down (you’ll probably need to do this in two batches). Run it under cold water to cool it down, then squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can, using your hands. Roughly chop the spinach then mix it with the ricotta and lemon zest, plus some salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

When the tomato sauce is ready, add it to a large dish or roasting tray. Stuff the spinach mixture into the pasta shells and place them on top. Top with the crumb. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Dan Copping November 19, 2017 at 11:05 am

    The sourdough breadcrumbs look like they really make this dish.

    Of course I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m just looking at pictures but that was my thought 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves November 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

      They do! Anchovies are a magical ingredient, I think and the crumbs are crisp but they also stop the pasta from drying out.

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    Reply MEAl5 November 20, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Love this recipe – thanks so much, I will made it today!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves November 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Woohoo! Let me know how you get on 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Yasmin November 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Yum and hooray! Just picked up a pack of conchiglioni from Lidl and this is a fantastic idea for it. I do love the retro-classic spinach ricotta here, but have 2 unshiftable bags of *ugh* kale I’m trying to use up, so it’ll have to serve as frugal experimental substitution

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves November 21, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Kale would work! Just make sure to chop it really fine.

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    Reply Sadhbh O'Sullivan November 20, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Helen! How many do you think this should feed? 4 with salad?!

  • Avatar
    Reply Single parent meal planning November 28, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Can’t wait to try it – thanks you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dr Martin Huang December 22, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Tasty. I can seriously have this all day long.

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    Reply Cmsources January 29, 2018 at 4:16 am

    How many do you think this should feed?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 29, 2018 at 11:07 am

      I’d say 4, unless you want to cook extra pasta on the side (to make it more filling)

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    Reply peafur February 2, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Can’t wait to try it – thanks you!

  • Avatar
    Reply floriental March 5, 2018 at 7:19 am

    So look good – thanks so much for sharing!

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