Four-cheese baked pasta shells

    1 hour 50 min

    A perfect pasta bake for people who love bechamel sauce and cheese. Allow six conchiglioni, or large pasta shells, per portion. If you don't have pasta shells, you could use cannelloni.

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    Serves: 8 

    • 48 conchiglioni rigati (large pasta shells)
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
    • 50g Robiola cheese (Osella)
    • 150g grated Parmesan cheese
    • 200g sweet Caciotta cheese, cubed
    • 700g passata
    • chopped garlic to taste
    • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
    • extra virgin olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Bechamel sauce
    • 30g butter
    • 50g plain flour
    • 500ml milk
    • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
    • salt to taste

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr20min  ›  Ready in:1hr50min 

    1. Cook the pasta shells for about 10 minutes in boiling salted water, or until just al dente, and drain them well.
    2. Prepare the bechamel sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir, cooking for a few minutes till golden. Pour in the milk and stir constantly until you have no lumps (this is easiest using a whisk). Bring the sauce to a slow boil, add the nutmeg and salt and then take off the heat to cool.
    3. When the bechamel sauce has cooled, add the cream cheese, Robiola, Parmesan and Caciotta cheeses. Mix everything well until you get a creamy mixture.
    4. Simmer the passata with the garlic and basil over medium heat and add a generous drizzle of olive oil at the end.
    5. Fill one pasta shell at a time with the cooled bechamel mixture. Place in a greased baking dish, adding a spoonful of tomato sauce on top of each shell.
    6. Bake in the oven at 180 C / Gas 4 for 30 minutes. Serve the baked shells hot.

    Italian cheeses

    Some of the cheeses in this recipe may be difficult to find. This recipe is versatile, however, and you can adjust according to what you can find:
    Osella Robiola cheese is a fresh, soft cheese. If unavailable, try equal parts ricotta and mascarpone, or a fresh soft goat's cheese.
    Caciotta represents a variety of rustic and mild Italian cheeses that can be made with both sheep's milk and cow's milk, or a combination. In a pinch you could try using Provolone, or another semi-firm cheese.

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