Pasta shells with lemon vinaigrette

With a little advance planning, you can serve this as a light main course for dinner on warm night. Serve with crusty French bread and sliced fresh fruit for dessert.

12 jumbo pasta shells


1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup very finely chopped almonds

Lemon Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Toasted sliced almonds, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil sprigs for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; cook the pasta according to package instructions, or until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, stir together the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

When the pasta is done, drain well, rinse under cold water, and drain well again. Toss the shells with the vinaigrette to coat.

Stuff the shells with the filling mixture, allowing about 1 heaping tablespoon for each. Arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle each with the remaining vinaigrette. Top with garnishes and serve immediately or chill.

Advance preparation

This dish can be assembled early in the day for an evening meal; cover and refrigerate.