Pasta is undeniably one of my favourite foods, especially when it’s crammed full of flavoursome fillings & baked in a rich, sumptuous sauce. It’s easy to prepare & a pleasure to eat, so when I discovered these huge shells on a random shopping trip, I had already decided what kind of fillings I would make, the sauce, the herbs, everything – all before reaching the checkout! I appreciate not everyone gets excited by a bag of pasta, but they inspired me to create something wholesome & filling – proper “rib sticking” food to warm you on a chilly day, without taking all day to make. These have been a hit with my family for years, so get the kids involved with the stuffing process & have some fun.
All I do is boil, drain & stuff these lovely little parcels with whatever I fancy that day (or whatever’s in the pantry!) – sometimes chopped spinach with ricotta, or crispy smoked bacon & cream cheese (sometimes with a glass of red wine in my hand Keith Floyd style!).
While I’m filling pasta at a rather leisurely pace (trying not to lick my fingers or eat any of the stuffing), there’s a large pan of my jammy tomato sauce bubbling gently in the background. This is then generously spooned all over the top, followed by ripped up chunks of mozzarella & a sprinkling of pungent oregano.
Half an hour later, that sweet, intense tomato & herb scent starts wafting through the house & the guys magically appear in the kitchen (usually grabbing a slice of warm bread to munch on while I’m dishing up).
Because I make enough for a small continent (portion control is not really my forte), there are always leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, hot or cold – but you have to be quick! A x