Pasta shells with ricotta and spinach


IMG_0251 spinach and ricotta

This is a useful veggie dish if you’re having a crowd around and need to prepare in advance.  You can keep this in the fridge once it’s prepared and do the final cooking step in the oven at your leisure.

For 2 adults and a little one you will need:

  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250 g spinach
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • 500 g ricotta
  • 250 g extra large pasta shells
  • Knob of butter
  • Handful of parmesan

Method:

To make the tomato sauce, fry the onion gently in the olive oil until it starts to soften and change colour.  Add half the garlic and fry for a minute before adding the red wine vinegar and the sugar.  Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes until the vinegar and sugar start to caramelise.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every now and again.

In a separate pan add the spinach, the remainder of the garlic, some freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg. Sweat with the lid on for a few minutes.  Strain the mixture through a sieve, pushing out as much of the juice as possible and adding the juice to the tomato sauce.  Chop the spinach and mix with the ricotta.

Boil the pasta shells for 5 minutes, drain and fill with the ricotta and spinach mixture.

Grease a flat roasting dish with butter and place the shells ricotta side down.  Cover the shells with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake at 180 C for 25-30 minutes.

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