I wanted to do something a little different which combines two of my favourite things; pasta and parmigiana, and so the parmigiana stuffed conchiglioni was born! Conchiglioni is a really fun pasta, it's larger than the normal shells which allows for new, more creative pasta cooking and it's available in most supermarkets. This is a great recipe to do with children as it's messy and their little hands are perfect for filling the shells! The base of the stuffing is a simple tomato sauce with grilled aubergines, parmesan and mozzarella stirred in. The pasta is filled, then sprinkled with extra parmesan and baked for 15 minutes. To finish, fresh basil is torn over the dish to give it a real Italian feel (as if you needed a reason!). Serve with a simple salad.
2 tins (800g) chopped Italian plum tomatoes
1 red onion, peeled and chopped in half
3 cloves of garlic, crushed with the side of a knife
1-2 tsp salt
1 large aubergine
150g conchiglioni pasta, I used Sainsbury's Taste the Difference
150g mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
50g parmesan, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
Fresh basil, small bunch
Salt and pepper
Put the tomatoes, onion halves, salt and garlic in a sauce pan over a medium heat. Once heated, close to boiling, turn down to a low heat. Cook uncovered at a slow simmer for around 45-60 minutes. Stir the mixture every so often and mash up any larger bits of tomato.
While the sauce is cooking, turn the grill onto a high heat. Slice the aubergine length ways so you have four pieces, brush with olive oil and season. Place under the grill to cook until soften and browned, this should take 5-7 minutes on each side but keep an eye on them. Once cooked, remove from the grill, allow to cool, then chop into small pieces.
Remove the onion and garlic from the tomato sauce then throw in the aubergine to continue cooking.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
When the sauce is done remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses. We want it to cool a little before we handle it.
Now put the pasta on to cook for 10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool quickly.
Stuff the shells with the parmigiana sauce and arrange in a baking dish. Pour any extra sauce on top of the shells then sprinkle with parmesan and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with ground black pepper, fresh basil and extra parmesan if you wish! Enjoy!