Baked stuffed pasta shells filled with spicy nduja paste, crunchy red peppers and salty goat’s cheese cooked in the easiest tomato of sauces.
Whilst this dish does take around 45 minutes to make the pasta and sauce can be prepared up to a day in advance. Then all you have to do is bring it all together and throw it in the oven.
Goats Cheese and Nduja Stuffed Conchiglie
Baked and stuffed pasta shells may seem like a relatively modern and “daddy” dish, but it has a pretty long-standing tradition in Sicilian cuisine.
Like most of my food, it shares little in common with traditional ideas, my food is always representative of me and the food combinations that I love.
Here we take cooked pasta shells and stuff them with a combination of spicy nduja paste and goat’s cheese.
Nduja is the spreadable “sausage” from Calabria, it is the star of by nduja pasta recipe and whilst it is expensive a little goes a very long way! It has a glorious mellow spicy flavour and a beautiful mouthfeel.
I pair this with goat’s cheese, not a populist choice, but if you love that sharp salty vibe then you will love this dish… and if you love this dish then my goat’s cheese cannelloni will be right up your street!
Finally, they are baked in the simplest of tomato sauces. One that is based on the one that I use in my fagioli all’uccelletto recipe, that one is flavoured with sage, whereas here I use basil.
The combination of crispy bits, soft bits and huge flavours make this a regular feature on our dinner table!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to use goat’s cheese?
No, although I would urge you to give it a try just once, I love the big and bold flaovur that it brings to the dish.
You could opt for the ever-popular ricotta, which I personally find a bit bland, but you could give it a flavour boost with lots of parmesan cheese.
Pairing these stuffed shells with spinach is a classic, as I do in my spinach and ricotta ravioli.
Do I have to use Ndjuja?
No, I’ve substituted the meat element of this dish with everything from salami to leftover bolognese sauce!
If you are planning to use salami soften it in the pan to get the oils flowing first, it gives the tomato sauce an awesome base.
Essentially, I would encourage you to use this recipe as a leaping-off point. After you have made my version of course!
What is passata?
A question often asked by visitors from the US and Canada, passata is the Italian name for sieved tomatoes.
In the US and Canada, the product is often labelled as tomato puree.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes, absolutely! I will quite often make the sauce and prepare the stuffed pasta shells in the morning and then cook them in the evening.
I do keep them separate though and just put them together before baking in the oven.
These stuffed pasta shells need a couple of sides to turn them into the perfect comforting meal.
The second is a nice side salad, I have to confess to being lazy with salad and I generally pick up a bag from the supermarket. Cooking for two means that buying different leaves often leads to a lot of waste.
I tend to dress my side salads with a basic citrusy lemon vinaigrette with lots of black pepper.
I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 28cm or 11″ oven-proof skillet or frying pan.
- 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Teaspoons for filling the stuffed shells, this is optional and I prefer to use my fingers.
- Stirring and serving spoons.
I love stuffed pasta shells and these glorious treats are stuffed with nduja paste, shallots, red peppers and goat's cheese then baked in a skillet in a tomato and basil sauce.
- 175g (6oz) Large/Giant Pasta Shells
- 75g (2½oz) Nduja
- 150g (5oz) Goats Cheese
- 70g (2 Small) Banana Shallots
- 1 Small Red Bell Pepper
- 400g (1⅔-1¾ Cups) Tomato Passata
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 24 (Large) Fresh Basil Leaves (plus extra for garnish)
- 3-4 Tbsp Coarse Dried Breadcrumbs
- Bring a 20cm or 8" saucepan of well-salted water (I use 1½ teaspoons of salt in a pan this size) to a boil and cook the pasta shells until al dente. Then drain and cool until you can handle them.
- Cut the shallot in half, peel it and then dice it as finely as you can.
- Remove the seeds and the core from the red pepper and then cut it into a 5-6mm (¼") dice.
- Peel and chop the garlic cloves as finely as you can.
- Shred the basil leaves as thinly as you can.
- Heat a 28cm or 11" oven-proof frying pan or skillet over a medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes, if the garlic begins to colour reduce the heat a little.
- Pour in the tomato passata, reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to cook gently whilst you stuff the pasta shells.
- When the pasta shells are cool enough to handle stuff them, start with a little of the nduja, then sprinkle in a little of the diced shallot followed by the goat's cheese, repeat this with the remaining pasta shells.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the shredded basil.
- Arrange the stuffed pasta shells on the sauce, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs then transfer to the oven and bake at 200°C or 400°F for 20 minutes.
If the pasta looks like it is getting a little too crispy at the edges cover the pan with a lid or some foil.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 721Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 437mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 29g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.