This post is about Lumaconi. A delightful stuffable pasta shaped like a snail shell, thus the name... Lumaca is Snail Shell in Italian. And here you thought there were only the Jumbo Shells (Conchiglioni - con-kee-lee-OWN-ee).
I actually prefer Lumaconi for stuffing as I seem to loose fewer while par-boiling than I do when using Conchiglioni. I think they actually hold more as well... I can normally put down about 4 Jumbo Shells, but only 2 Lumaconi. Alas, Lumaconi seem to be difficult to find, although I DID find them, several months ago... and of all places, at Cost Plus World Market... I know, Right? Go Figya...
So I decided that is was finally time to use them, even though stuffed pasta, at least to me, is more of a cold weather type dish, especially with as hot as it has been in San Diego. Why now? OK, Confession time... I am about to embark upon a life change... I am moving back to Portland, Oregon and as a result, I am doing my darnedest to get my pantry and freezer cleared out of all but the bare essentials, because pretty much everything is going into storage. Down here... in SD... for at least 4 months... Yeah... SO... Pantry cleaning time....!!!!!!
I modified the Turkey and Artichoke stuffing recipe that I normally use with Arrabbiata Sauce, which means Angry in Italian... opting for Chicken Thighs, but I put a twist on it. I have Turkey stock in my freezer that I had made after Thanksgiving. I froze it in ice cube trays and stored it in ziplock bags. I decided to treat the chicken the same way I would if I was making Chipotle Pulled Chicken, but simmering in Turkey stock to deepen the flavor, which I then added to the pasta water for another flavor boost. After all, I didn't want to just cook the chicken and dump the stock, that would be wasteful. Especially since it had some chicken flavor too after the cooking. I have to admit, that it did give the pasta a little extra something... (I always chow down on the pasta that breaks)
Lumaconi con Pollame y Carciofo all'Arrabbiata
1 LB Chicken Thighs
3 cups Turkey Stock
2 springs of Thyme or Rosemary or a combination of the two
3 TB Olive Oil
1 small Onion, Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt, plus for sautéed meat
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper, Plus for sautéed meat
1-12oz pkg Frozen Artichoke Hearts, Coarse chopped
15 oz Ricotta
3 oz Grated Pecorino Romano
2 lightly beaten Eggs
1/4 cup Basil, Chopped
2 TB Italian parsley, Chopped
24 Lumaconi (Although you will probably need to boil about 1 lb) - Par-boiled for about 5-6 minutes
3 oz Pancetta, Diced
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
5 cups of Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce (recipe still forthcoming, I am not out of it yet)
1 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp Porcini Powder
1 TB Olive Oil
4 oz Pecorino Romano (Although you can use a dry mozzarella)
plus extra Pecorino Romano for serving
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.
Simmer chicken in Turkey Stock with the thyme until cooked. (about 15 minutes)
Move chicken to a Stand mixer (this makes it faster) and allow to cool.
Add the Hot Stock to the pasta water.
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat and Saute onion and Garlic until onion is translucent and garlic begins to brown.
Add artichoke hearts and stir to combine, heating through; then remove from the heat.
Shred the chicken in the mixer. (only takes a couple minutes)
and add to the pan stirring to combine.
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Add Pancetta and sauté until golden, then add Garlic and sauté for about 1-2 minutes longer.
Add Slow cooked tomato sauce and red pepper flakes.
Toss in the Porcini Powder. (This will not only deepen the sauce flavor, but provide a littel thickening power too)
Bring Sauce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
The Pasta Water/stock should be boiling by now, so salt water liberally and drop lumaconi.
Cook Pasta for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking while the Arrabbiata is simmering
Remove the Arrabbiata from heat and cool until ready for use.
Pasta should be done, drain and move whole shells to a piece of wax paper to cool until able to handle.
Even Lumaconi can rip and tear while boiling... but I only lost 3, I usually loose about 10 of the Conchiglioni.
Combine the poultry mixture in a large bowl with Ricotta, Pecorino, Eggs, Basil, Parsley, Salt and pepper.
Stir well and place in a pastry bag, without a tip. (it just makes it easier).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grab a 9x13 baking dish.
Take a Lumacone in your palm, and fill with the meat/cheese mixture. (about 2 TB)
Pour 3/4 cup Arrabbiata sauce into baking dish to coat the bottom.
Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish and continue stuffing more shells until dish is full.
Cover stuffed shells with remaining Arrabbiata sauce
and sprinkle with Grated Pecorino Romano.
Bake in oven for about 30 minutes – The cheese will begin to melt and some of it will brown.
Serve with more Pecorino Romano sprinkled on top and Enjoy!!!
And now, I am just as stuffed as the Lumaconi and moving at about the speed of a snail myself. But I am not angry, on the contrary, I am happy as a clam. LOL