I love using tiny pasta when I’m cooking and just bought a packet of one of my favourites, Conchigliette. This translates into conch, for the shape of the pasta as it is like a conch shell – and the end of the pasta name then indicates it’s a miniature. So this is, simply, small seashell pasta.
Like most pastas, the only difference between this pasta and any other is simply the size and shape. This pasta is good to throw into soups or stews, but is a personal favourite in the summer when I use it to make salads. Conchigliette pasta is the perfect size when I make layered salads, it makes a neat layer of pasta for a pasta layered salad.
Cooking Conchigliette Pasta
There’s no difference whatsoever in cooking this pasta to cooking any other type, except in terms of how long it takes to cook. Being smaller, it takes less time (another reason I like it!).
As I live alone I’m usually making very small quantities of food and so I’ll usually microwave the conchigliette. I simply add about 60 grams of conchigliette to a microwave safe jug, add a splash of oil (cheapo stuff’s OK) to help keep the individual shells separate, then a sprinkle of salt and cover the pasta with water. I’ll then microwave it for one minute, then leave it to stand for 2-3 minutes, before repeating that two more times. So a total microwave time of about 3 minutes, over a 15 minute period. Pasta, especially this size, can simply be cooked by covering it in boiling water and covering the pot, then topping up with fresh boiling water when the water cools – so this is a great food to eat in a hotel room when you’ve only got a kettle! Most people would simply drop a handful or two of conchigliette into a saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 4-5 minutes.
How to Use Tiny Seashell Pasta:
As I said, it’s “just pasta”, so use it in any way you like. I find it works well for:
- Pasta salad
- Macaroni cheese, so Conchigliette Cheese!
- Add a small handful into stews. If using a slow cooker, then add them 30 minutes before you serve the meal
Although the shape works best with tomato sauces, as the tiny seashells collect the tomato sauce, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used with cheese sauces too. It is “just pasta”.
Is Tiny Seashell Pasta Suitable for Vegetarians?
If you’re catering for vegetarians, be careful of any coloured pasta as it has the potential to be coloured with squid ink! Red pasta is usually coloured with tomato extract, green pasta is usually coloured with spinach extract. So read the packet if you’re unsure to double-check that the bag of pasta you’re buying is suitable for vegetarians.
This pasta isn’t expensive, it’s regular-priced. I bought my 500 gram packet from Sainsburys today for £0.79. With my regular serving of 60 grams that’s a cost of under £0.10 for a portion.