Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
Herb garden gone wild
- 1 1⁄4 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried bay leaf)
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cups tightly packed Baby Spinach
- 1 cup tightly packed baby arugula
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
- 1⁄4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh summer savory
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1⁄2 cup cubed fontina
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 lb dried ridged pasta shells (or conchiglie rigate)
- 3 tablespoons sour cream or 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
- Combine the onions, bay leaves, garlic, butter, olive oil, and salt in a small saucepan.
- Saute over med-low heat until the onions and garlic are very soft and completely cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Add the cream and scald—heat just until little bubbles form around the outside edge; set aside off the heat for 30 minutes to steep.
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil for the pasta; heat oven to 500°.
- In another saucepan, add the spinach and arugula to boiling salted water; cook, stirring often, until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes; drain in a colander.
- When the greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop.
- Combine the chopped greens, sage, basil, marjoram, summer savory, and chives in a large bowl.
- Add in walnuts, the cheeses, and a good scraping of nutmeg.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves and add the cooled cream and sour cream to the mixing bowl; stir to combine.
- Taste and add salt, if needed; set aside.
- Generously salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta; cook, stirring often, to parboil, 4-5 minutes (the pasta will be too hard to eat; it will continue to cook in the oven).
- Drain the shells, reserving about 1 cup of the water.
- Toss the pasta with the ingredients in the bowl until well combined; you want the shells to capture some of the walnuts, herbs, and cheese in their crannies.
- Add ½ cup reserved pasta water and toss again.
- Transfer to individual shallow baking dishes or a large shallow gratin dish.
- There should be ample liquid surrounding the pasta.
- If not, nap with additional pasta water.
- Bake until bubbly and hot, with some of the pasta shells browning on top; serve immediately (no cooking time was given in this last step, so you will have to use your judgment).