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These delicious filled pasta shells are perfect for serving at parties or when you have a lot of guests.
- 250 g conchiglioni pasta shells (about 16)
- 200 g fresh ricotta
- 160 g canned tuna (drained)
- 2 sage leaves
- 2 tbsp salted capers (rinsed)
- 60 g Taggiasca olives (or other small olives)
- 30 g breadcrumbs
- 60 g Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
- 50 g butter
- 50 g all purpose flour
- 500 ml fresh whole milk
- 1 pinch nutmeg grated
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.
Chop the olives, capers and sage leaves into small pieces with a knife or a blender.
Mash the drained tuna and ricotta together and then add, the caper, olive and sage mixture, mix everything together well. Season with salt and pepper as required. I also added a little grated lemon zest.
Cook the pasta until just al dente according to the instructions on the packet. It’s important that the shells are still quite firm. After draining the pasta shells, separate them so they won’t stick together.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour a little at a time, whilst stirring continuously, until you have a smooth paste. Add the milk a little at a time, again continuously stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken (you may not need all the milk). If your béchamel seems lumpy you can use a hand blender to make it smoother. I like to add a pinch of grated nutmeg to the béchamel.
Fill each pasta shell with the tuna and ricotta filling and place side by side in a buttered oven dish.
Add a tablespoon of béchamel to each shell and then sprinkle them all with a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees until the top starts to turn golden and crispy. You can also use the grill for the last 5 minutes. Serve while still warm.
This recipe can be made with lumaconi (snail shell pasta) or cannelloni. However, cannelloni are not good as finger food.
If you aren't serving these pasta shells as finger food, you can be more generous with the bechamel sauce.
Cooking times include precooking the pasta, making the bechamel and baking the finished dish.
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