Last Updated : Sep 28,2017
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Also Known as Shell pasta
Conchiglie pasta is a shell-like Italian pasta shape which comes in a range of sizes, from tiny shells for soups to jumbo shells which can be stuffed and baked. The simple and very versatile pasta shape is very popular in many parts of the world for a wide range of dishes. Most grocers stock conchiglie pasta, which may be labeled as "shell pasta" in a reference to the shape.
Shell Shape Pasta is a handy one to keep around the pantry. Commonly known as "seashells", the name derives from the Italian word for seashell. The shell shape of the pasta is good at catching the sauce.
Typically, conchiglie pasta is wide in the middle, tapering down to narrow sides. When the shell side of the pasta is flipped, it reveals an opening which runs along the length of the pasta. Because the pasta is hollow and ridged, it is suitable for a wide range of sauces.
Boil plenty of water in a large pan with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil. Add the conchiglie to the boiling water by adding a few at a time. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and gently until the conchiglie is tender. Cooking times may vary with the size and the thickness of the conchiglie. Immediately drain the cooked conchiglie into a sieve or a colander. Transfer to a bowl of cold water to refresh it. Drain again and keep aside.If the conchiglie is not to be used immediately, add 1 tbsp of oil to it and toss it.
How to Select
The best conchiglie pasta is made from hard durum wheat which holds up well through the cooking process. Hard wheat will hold their shape better when boiled and baked, making the pasta shells a sturdy base for casseroles and similar dishes. Most pasta packaging clearly indicates what kind of wheat has been used so that consumers can pick out the best pasta for their needs. Hence purchase accordingly.
The nutritional value of the pasta will also be shown on the label or package. It will show calories, fat and cholesterol content, and it will list the nutrients contained. The food label or package may also contain other information such as cooking instructions and estimated serving sizes.
" The sturdy shape will hold up well under chunky meat and vegetable sauces, while the hollow parts of the shells can act to trap thinner sauces.
" The pasta is also flavorful plain, with a light sprinkling of olive oil and fresh herbs.
" In addition to being served with sauce, conchiglie pasta can be baked in casseroles, used as a carrier for macaroni and cheese, added to pasta salad, and included in soups.
" Conchiglie pasta is great for soups and other dishes where normally sized shells might be overwhelming.
" Oversized conchiglie pasta designed for stuffing and baking are called conchiglioni
" Serve with simple mixed greens and sprouts. Sprouts benefit assimilation of nutrients because their fats, proteins and starches have been broken down into easily digestible forms. Adding parsley also helps to improve the digestion of fats in most meals.
How to Store
High quality pasta made from good durum wheat will keep essentially indefinitely in a cool dry place. Use it before the expiry date printed. To refrigerate, place the pasta in an airtight plastic bag or an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. To freeze, place in an airtight plastic freezer bag and press out as much excess air as possible and place in the freezer. If storing sauced pasta, eat within 1 to 2 days to prevent the pasta from absorbing too much sauce. When refrigerating or freezing cooked pasta, be sure it is stored in a well sealed container so that it does not absorb any odors.
" Pasta made with whole wheat instead of refined flour makes it darker but more nutritious.
" High in complex carbohydrates, which provide a "time release" of energy rather than a quick boost
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