This week's weather has me feeling some type of way and all my body is craving is comfort food. (Just for the record, we are in the middle of 'summer' but its raining and temps are dropping)
Anyhoo, I'm sure many of you might be feeling the same way so I thought I'd share this absolutely perfect carb loaded comfort meal. Don't be put of by the name of the pasta :-) It's simply large pasta shells.
There's something very whimsical about this meal for me; I think its stuffing the shells... All the same this is a great family dish and is also perfect for batch cooking if you please. The pasta holds and the meal doesn't lose its flavour when kept in the freezer.
300 grams conchiglie
4 chicken breasts
400ml double cream
500ml simple tomato sauce. Recipe here
5grams whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 smashed garlic cloves
Rectangular baking dish
The first step in the recipe is to part boil your conchiglie according to the packet instructions until its al dente. Drain the water, run the pasta under cold water and set aside.
*You don't want the pasta soft otherwise it will overcook and fall apart when you bake it.
The next step is to cook the chicken. In this case I poached my chicken breast. Place your chicken into a saucepan with the garlic, black peppercorns and bay leaf. Pour enough water over the chicken to completely cover it but do not fill the saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stove on a low heat and cover. Leave it and let it come to a simmer. Do not be tempted to increase the heat or the chicken will toughen up. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Take out the chicken and let it cool down. After a few minutes, use a fork to shred the chicken and place it into a large bowl.
Add your ricotta, double cream, egg and fresh basil to the chicken. Season with the salt and some pepper and using a spoon, mix them well until everything is combined. Set the bowl aside.
Pre- heat your oven to 180°
Pour half your tomato sauce into the baking dish and spread its all across the bottom.
Now for the fun part, using a teaspoon, take some of the chicken ricotta mix and stuff it into the pasta shells one by one and line the stuffed pasta over the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Once all the shells are stuffed, pour the remainder of the tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover the pasta with foil and put it into the oven to bake for 35 minutes on the middle shelf.
Once cooked through, take off the foil and sprinkle the parmesan over the pasta and place back into the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Now you're ready to serve......