This recipe is pretty and satisfying enough to entertain with, yet easy enough to whip up on a weeknight. This was one of my favorite childhood dishes with the creamy delicious cheese sauce enveloping the shells, topped with a flavorful zesty tomato sauce. Serve alongside a simple garden salad with a classic Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic dressing.
1 500ml bottle of Mussini Tomato Sauce of choice
(For this dish I prefer a spicy Arrabbiata, but any of the sauces will work beautifully)
1 [15-ounce] container whole-milk ricotta cheese
(you can substitute with low-fat or part skim ricotta for a lighter dish)
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Chopped fresh basil for garnish
BRING A LARGE POT of salted water to a boil. Add Conchiglioni to the boiling water, and cook as directed, stirring occasionally until tender or “al dente” about 14-16 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, pour the tomato sauce into a small sauce pan to warm up on medium-low heat, just enough to thoroughly warm through and open up the flavors.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, chopped parsley, garlic salt, and fresh cracked pepper until well combined, set aside.
Strain the pasta when done, but reserve about ½ -1 cup of starchy pasta water on the side.
Gently fold pasta shells into the ricotta mixture just enough to thoroughly coat the shells and melt the cheese mixture. If the mixture gets too stiff, add some of the starchy pasta water as needed to “loosen” the mixture.
Portion on plates or family style on a serving platter, then pour the warm tomato sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh basil and more grated Parmesan cheese.
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