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Tag: grilled tomatoes

Spinach Ricotta stuffed Conchiglioni on Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

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The trilogy of spinach, ricotta and tomatoes is one I use a lot for my pasta dishes, be it in lasagna, ravioli or canneloni. And if I need a really quick dinner I go for conchiglioni, the pretty pasta shells. It’s so convenient to stuff these little beauties with all kinds of sauces and vegetables, a thick Bolognese or Ratatouille, mashed pumpkin or a tuna stew, they deliciously carry whatever I choose to fill them with! I also like that I can cook them in advance and just bake them with some cheese under the grill to warm them up, another easy solution for a spontaneous dinner party!

For this recipe I can skip all of the preparations that my classic lasagna requires, no Béchamel, no slow cooked red or meat sauce. I just put a bunch of cherry tomatoes under the grill until their skin starts to burst, it’s the same preparation that I used for my orecchiette recipe in July. The roasted fruits are so soft and sweet that I only need to stir in some olive oil, Balsamico vinegar, salt and pepper to turn them into an aromatic and juicy sauce. I spread the conchiglioni on top of the tomatoes in the same dish as soon as they are done, lusciously stuffed with blanched spinach and creamy ricotta and sprinkled with Parmesan. Another 3 minutes under the grill and dinner is served!

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 Spinach Ricotta stuffed Conchiglioni on Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

For 3-4 people you need

conchiglioni, cooked al dente, around 25 pasta shells
spinach, the hard stems cut off, cleaned, 400g / 14 ounces (mine weighed 600g / 21 ounces before I prepared it)
ricotta 200g / 7 ounces
cherry tomatoes 500g / 1 pound
Balsamico vinegar 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons
nutmeg, freshly grated, to taste
salt and pepper
Parmesan, grated, around 40g / 1.5 ounces, for the topping

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil. Blanche the spinach for 1 minute, rinse with cold water in a colander, drain and squeeze out the water with a spoon. Chop the spinach roughly, mix with the ricotta and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Put the cherry tomatoes in a baking dish (big enough to spread the stuffed conchiglioni on top when the tomatoes are done) and roast the fruits under the grill for 15 minutes or until their skin starts to burst, turn them once or twice. When the tomatoes are done, stir in the Balsamico vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and gently squeeze the tomatoes with a spoon.

Fill the pasta shells with the spinach ricotta stuffing, spread them on top of the tomatoes and push them gently in between the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shells with the Parmesan and some more pepper and put under the grill for around 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Like with lasagna, it’s best to let the dish sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Spinach Ricotta stuffed Conchiglioni on Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

 

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Orecchiette with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil

Orecchiette with Grilled Tomatoes + Mozzarella

This meal started off with an image in my head. Quite often I imagine recipes visually, I can see the colours, the texture, the whole composition is just waiting to get out of my head onto a plate. For days I’ve been mentally carrying a Tuscan picture with me (it’s Tuscan to me at least). I had a big bowl of orecchiette in mind, topped with roasted cherry tomatoes on a branch. I could see the woody sprig turning black and the firm skin of the red fruit grilled and burst creating a smoky sweetness to mix with my pasta. Sprinkled with pieces of Buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil it turns into a tasty beauty in green, white and red – the Italian flag on a plate!

This is another one of these simple and perfect Italian dishes, the classic combination of tomato, mozzarella and fresh herbs which I love so much in various recipes. It is as good as an insalata caprese which I mix with mint as it is in a Panzanella, a Tuscan salad made with stale bread, a recipe which is on the top of my cooking list for when I’m in Malta (which will be very soon!).  You can throw it on pizza, quiche or mix it with any kinds of pasta, warm or cold, with rosemary, oregano, thyme or whatever your herb garden offers. This is the essence of pure Italian comfort food!

Orecchiette with Grilled Tomatoes + Mozzarella

 Orecchiette with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

For 2 people you need

orecchiette 200g / 7 ounces
cherry tomatoes on a branch 500g / 1 pound
Buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite sized pieces, 125g / 4.5 ounces
big basil leaves, torn, 10
olive oil 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
salt and crushed black pepper

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.

Turn on the grill of your oven, put the tomatoes (on their branches) on a baking dish and roast for 12 minutes or until their skin starts to turn black and burst.

In a sauce pan, warm up the olive oil together with the garlic and leave on a medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.

Divide the pasta between 2 big plates, mix with the garlic olive oil and top with mozzarella, basil and a roasted branch of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and crushed pepper.

Orecchiette with Grilled Tomatoes + Mozzarella

 

Orecchiette with Grilled Tomatoes + Mozzarella

 

Orecchiette with Grilled Tomatoes + Mozzarella

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