Stuffed pasta shells with spinach, ricotta, pistachio and cherry tomatoes

Serves: 4
Course: Dinner
Cooking Time: 50 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
  • 400g cannelloni pasta tubes
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • 300g fresh spinach, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 150g mascarpone cheese
  • 1tbs pistachios, chopped
  • To serve: torn soft herbs such as basil or marjoram
  1. Cook the cannelloni tubes according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, cooked spinach, grated Parmesan cheese, beaten egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined. Stuff the cooked cannelloni tubes with the ricotta and spinach mixture. Place the filled cannelloni tubes in a baking dish and set aside.
  2. For the cherry tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and chopped courgette to the saucepan and cook for about eight minutes, until the tomatoes start to soften and release their juices. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, basil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another five minutes. Remove the cherry tomato sauce from the heat and use a blender or immersion blender to blend it until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, you can skip this step. Pour the cherry tomato sauce over the stuffed cannelloni tubes in the baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese and finely chopped pistachios together until well combined. Spoon the mascarpone and pistachio mixture over the cherry tomato sauce. Place the baking dish in a preheated oven at 180 degrees and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cannelloni is heated through and the top is golden and bubbling. Garnish with some fresh herbs.
Gráinne O'Keefe

Gráinne O'Keefe

Gráinne O’Keefe is a chef, restaurateur and contributor to The Irish Times. She is chef-patron of the Dublin restaurant Mae