ricotta stuffed conchiglioni

when another presto pasta night from the lovely ruth of once upon a feast (great name, by the way...:-) is coming up, you better think about a new pasta dish. i am tired of spaghetti, since i ate them with my all time favourite meatballs for the last few weeks (i seem to be going through phases...) - so my eyes were all on these beautiful pasta shells, called conchiglioni
credit for this recipe goes to haalo from the awesome aussie blog Cook (almost) anything at least once. when i saw her stuffed conchiglioni and remebered i still had some homemade ricotta in my fridge - i knew, this one is what i am having for dinner. of course i had to put some bacon and thyme in it (dont you think one should put bacon into every dish there is?) and added some chopped porcinis. it's dead easy and quick to make and a wonderful combination of flavours. they just make a perfect harmony.


16 conchiglioni (large pasta shells)

200g (homemade) ricotta
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano
2 rashers of streaky bacon, cut in small strips
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
a good hand full dried porcinis, soaked in hot water and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

simple tomato sauce

1 medium red onion, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
2 cans diced tomatoes
some flat leaf parsley, finely chopped finely
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

first make the easy-peasy tomato sugo. heat some olive oil in a depp sided pan, add onion, carrot and tomato purée - mix and let sauté for a bit until it softens and caramelises. now add the canned tomatoes, increase heat. season with salt and pepper and let it cook and bubble until the mixture has thickened. add chopped parsley and remove from heat.

heat oven to 180c°.
then heat a pot with salted water and cook pasta shells for about 8 minutes until they are soft but still have a bite and are firm enough to be filled. drain and allow to cool.
for the filling, place ricotta, grated parmigiano, thyme, chopped porcinis, bacon, a little salt and freshly ground pepper into a bowl and mix (you might find this a little yuck - but its best to do this, using your hands). fill drained and cooled pasta shells with ricotta mixture and place in an ovenproof dish.
spoon a little of the tomato sauce over the stuffed shells (you probably wont use all of the sauce - safe it for another batch of stuffed conchiglioni). generously sprinkle with grated parmigiano cheese.

bake for about 20 minutes in the middle of the oven. add some freshly grated parmigiano cheese before serving. tuck in asap!