Our guest food editor hails from the Netherlands, but she developed a love for Italian cuisine as an ex-pat living in Rome. Her delicioso ricotta and arugula pasta dish is the perfect farewell to winter’s chill. Although a fan of Italian cuisine, her plated dish shows a nostalgic nod to her homeland. Buon Appetito!!
• 16 Conchiglioni (cook a few extra large pasta shells as some may break)
• 1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
• 6 cups of arugula
• 12 oz of whole milk ricotta
• 1 teaspoon of crushed chili pepper
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or 1-1/4 cup of marinara sauce
• 1 teaspoon of crème fraîche
• 15 Italian pine nuts
• 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon of sea salt
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 1/4 cup of finely chopped basil
Preheat oven to 375. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Meanwhile heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the arugula stirring occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt, but are still bright green—about 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, black pepper and crushed chili pepper. The arugula should reduce by half.
Remove from heat and let cool. Wipe the skillet dry with paper towel and saute the shallot for about 2 minutes on low heat. Watch the shallot carefully it should not burn or brown.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the arugula, shallot, ricotta, egg yolk, pine nuts and ½ cup of Parmigiano.
Use a food mill to make a smooth sauce out of the diced tomatoes or use premade marinara sauce. Add a teaspoon of crème fraîche to the sauce. Layer the bottom of your baking dish with the sauce. Fill each pasta shell with a generous amount of the arugula mixture and place in the baking dish.
Sprinkle with dots of butter and the rest of the Parmigiano. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
*Watercress or spinach may be used in place of arugula.