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Conchiglione Ripiena

(Pasta Shells Stuffed with Ricotta with Sweet Peppers and Anchovy Sauce)

This dish is found all across the south, with varying sizes of shells. In Italian, when you see the suffix "-one", it refers to a large size.

18 large pasta shells, cooked and drained well

1 pound spinach, cooked, squeezed dry, and chopped
1 pound ricotta
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Nutmeg to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
3 anchovy fillets
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the filling: Mix the spinach and ricotta together. Add the egg yolks and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
To make the sauce: In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes until soft, but not browned. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, peppers, anchovies, and parsley and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Puree the sauce in the blender and return to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat an oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish. Spoon the filling into the cooked pasta shells and arrange the filled shells snugly in the dish. Pour the pepper sauce over the top and place casserole in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles. Serve at once.

Serves 4 to 6

Picture by Joyce Dudkerk-Pool


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