I'm always popping leftovers into the freezer, whether it's a couple of helpings of casserole or a half-used jar of pesto. And then if I'm not careful, they just sit there, forgotten. This dish was helped along by a couple of such things that I needed to use up: a tub of herby cream cheese, and some chilli tomato sauce.
Paccheri is a type of pasta consisting of large, fairly heavy tubes. When I saw them in the shop, my first thought was that they would be perfect for stuffing, but it's taken me a while to get around to it. Filling them this way is a little bit fiddly, but the result is worth it, I think. If you can't find paccheri, you could use the same filling for cannelloni or even as a lasagna layer.
Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Paccheri
20 tubes of paccheri pasta
150g chestnut mushrooms
2 red onions
100g fresh spinach
100g cream cheese
200g tomato sauce (I used a spicy sauce with chilli)
50g cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Cook the paccheri according to the instructions on the packet.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Begin by finely chopping the onions and mushrooms.
- Fry the onions, mushrooms and spinach over a low heat, until the spinach has wilted and the onions softened.
- Add the cream cheese to the vegetables and stir through. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
- Stuff the pasta tubes with the spinach mixture.
- Arrange the tubes in the base of a casserole dish. If you have any spare filling, you can use it to pack into the gaps.
- Top with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the dish is heated throughout and the cheese has melted.