Following on from my Taste of Italy post about an evening I spent with Bertolli and the lovely Gennaro, I came up with this tasty pasta dish, which is light and just perfect for a summer evening when you have had enough of salad but still needing something healthy! No cheese sauce in sight and packed with flavour, its a little fiddly but fun to fill all the shells and thats about all the effort required, great for a busy week night!
Out of all the Bertolli sauces the Basilico was my favourite, with a really gorgeously fresh tomato flavour and chunky texture, I wanted to make the most of it. Whilst you could make your own tomato sauce for this dish, this is one occasion where I probably would choose shop bought, for convenience and also more importantly, flavour!
Hope you enjoy!
Serves 4 as a starter, 2-3 as a main course
1 jar Bertolli Basilico sauce
16 Lumaconi shells (large snail like pasta shells, allow a couple extra for breakage!),
260g fresh leaf spinach, any rough stalks removed
½ tsp nutmeg
S&P (lots of the p!)
15 basil leaves, 10 shredded
Handful grated light mature cheddar
Serves 4 as a starter, 2 for main course
1) Boil the pasta as per instructions, when cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Pre-heat the oven 180 fan/ 200 gas.
2) Rinse and cook 2/3 of the spinach leaves for a couple of minutes until wilted, drain really well in a sieve or colander, pressing out any excess liquid, chop finely and allow to cool slightly.
3) In a bowl, mix the spinach, ricotta, nutmeg, shredded basil and season well, fill the pasta shells with the mixture either using a teaspoon or piping bag, whichever you find easier! I used a foodbag with a corner snipped off with good results.
4) In a deep baking dish, pour in the Bertolli sauce, cover with a thin layer of the reserved uncooked spinach
5) Place the filled shells on top of the spinach. Finely shred any remaining uncooked spinach and scatter over the base, top with the grated cheese:
6) Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Serve with garlic bread or a fresh green salad