Giant Conchigli with Ricotta and Hazelnut

This creamy combo of cheese and spinach in giant pasta, cloaked in silky mornay sauce, makes a perfect family supper from Alan Coxon
By Alan Coxon
Giant Conchigli with Ricotta and Hazelnut
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the mornay sauce

  • 1 litres milk
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 75 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard

For the pasta

  • 16 giant conchigli shells pasta

For the filling

  • 500 g cooked spinach
  • 85 g ricotta cheese
  • 50 g hazelnuts, roasted and crushed
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 85 g grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Lightly butter an ovenproof serving dish. Pour the milk into a saucepan.

2. Stud the onion with the cloves and add to the pan. Heat gently, but do not boil.

3. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan.

4. Add the flour and stir well. Cook over a gentle heat for 1-2 minutes, taking care not to let the mixture brown - this mixture is called a 'roux'.

5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

6. Add a ladle of milk to the roux and stir well until all the milk has been absorbed. Continue to add the milk a little at a time, until all the milk has been absorbed.

7. Stir in the nutmeg, cheese and mustard. Cover with a sheet of buttered greaseproof paper and keep warm.

8. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water to packet instructions, until al dente; drain.

9. To make the filling, put the spinach, ricotta and hazelnuts in a bowl. Stir in the nutmeg.

10. Add half of the Parmesan and half of the paprika. Mix until thoroughly combined.

11. Fill the pasta shells with the cheese mixture and place into the prepared dish. Pour over the sauce.

12. Scatter over the remaining Parmesan and cook for 10 minutes or so, until golden and bubbling.

13. Dust with the remaining paprika and serve.

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