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Spinach and ‘ricotta’ filled giant pasta shells in tomato sauce

The base for this clever vegan ricotta is soaked almonds.

Serves 4 Total Time 50 mins – plus soaking time

Ingredients 

Get the ingredients here.

  • 24 conchiglioni shells 
  • 400g baby spinach

For the vegan ricotta

  • 200g flaked almonds 
  • 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 6 tbsp Oatly Crème Fraîche 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated 
  • 680g passata 
  • 30g basil, roughly chopped 
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

To serve (optional) 

  • Basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegan parmesan

Instructions

 1. Start with the ricotta. Soak the almonds in cool water overnight for at least 4 hrs, or in boiling water for 5 minutes.

2. Drain the nuts and blitz in a food processor with the rest of the ‘ricotta’ ingredients until it looks like ricotta – a thick paste with a grainy texture. Scoop into a mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Boil a large pan of salted water and cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the pack instructions (usually 15 mins, so cook for 12). Drain and toss in olive oil to stop them sticking.

4. Using the same saucepan, wilt the spinach in a splash of water until it is just cooked through, then squeeze out any excess water in a colander and transfer to a chopping board. Chop finely and add to the ‘ricotta’. Mix together well with some black pepper.

5. Rinse the same saucepan and add the olive oil for the tomato sauce. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the passata, basil, nutmeg and some seasoning. Simmer for 10 mins then use a stick blender to make it smooth. Pour this into a large, shallow casserole dish.

6. Take a pasta shell and fill with some of the ‘ricotta’ and spinach mix. Place the shell into the tomato sauce. Repeat until you’ve filled all the shells.

7. Place the casserole dish into the hot oven for 30 mins until bubbling and golden.

Chef’s Tip

Make it veggie

Use regular ricotta and parmesan.

Make it meaty

Try spicing things up by adding some ’nduja to the tomato sauce.

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