I may look knowledgeable about the Italian names for pasta, but in fact I looked it up on Wikipedia, on this huge list of pasta shapes and their names. I have been wanting to make this recipe for years (and I mean years) after initially making it in Hong Kong in …oh 1993! I just couldn’t find the shells, simple as that. Twenty years later, success! I literally knocked my husband out of the way in the supermarket to reach them, cooing over them like a long lost friend.
The recipe is very simple and because I’m using cottage cheese instead of say, ricotta, this is fairly low fat too. I used whatever herbs I had, dried as I didn’t have fresh (you see I was well prepared in my haste to make this dish!) and a ready made tomato sauce.
Firstly, boil the pasta until fairly soft but not breaking up as it will be difficult to stuff them. Keep an eye on them as they are boiling and separate any that are ‘spooning’!
Once cool enough to handle, gently open up the shells and stuff the cottage cheese mixture into them, don’t overstuff as it’s really not necessary and you want it to go around all the shells. The mixture is: a regular tub cottage cheese, some grated hard cheese, and dried or fresh herbs, I used basil.
Place them (neatly, unlike me) in an ovenproof dish and pour over the tomato sauce, sprinkle with more herbs and some grated cheese.
Serve with a crisp salad. I would estimate to use around 10 – 12 shells per person (we have good appetites) and one regular tub of cottage cheese fills around 20 shells. Enjoy!