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One French word: demi-sel, a French recipe: coquilles farcies au fromage demi-sel

Demi-sel, invariable adjective = literally “half-salted”.

Butter and soft fresh cheese can be said to be demi-sel. Salt is added to a product which is not naturally salted.

Du beurre demi-sel = salted butter

Du fromage demi-sel = salted fresh soft cheese

My recipe for today uses large pasta shells stuffed with a herb and cream cheese mixture : coquilles farcies au fromage demi-sel.

The type of shells to buy - check that they are not broken

Per person:

  • 6-7 coquilles
  • olive oil
  • 100gr fromage frais demi-sel (fresh salted cream cheese)
  • a handful of chopped chives
  • a handful of chopped basil
  • a handful of pine nuts
  • a handful of chopped stoned olives, green or black or a mixture
  • pepper
  • tomato sauce
  • grated cheese (optional)

Main ingredients

Boil a large saucepan of salted water and cook the coquilles for two minutes less than the time recommended on the packet (mine said 18 minutes, I cooked them 16 minutes). Put a little olive oil in the water to prevent them sticking to each other or to the sides of the saucepan. But keep an eye on them and detach them if you see them trying to get too close. The problem if they stick is that they break and split and are difficult to stuff afterwards.

While they are cooking,  mix the cream cheese with the herbs, pepper, and pine nuts. Don’t salt, the cheese is already salted.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Drain the shells gently and put them the right way up in an oiled baking dish to cool.

With two teaspoons, place a tsp of mixture into each shell. Cover well with fairly liquid tomato sauce (home made or your favourite bottled version). I used Panzani Fresh Tomato and Olive, which I’m very keen on at the moment. No pasta should be showing or it will dry out in the oven. Add grated cheese if you wish.

Place in a hot oven for 10 minutes, this will warm up all the ingredients and finish cooking the pasta. It is quite a good idea to do them in individual dishes so as not to have to disturb the  shells when  serving them. Add more chopped basil before serving.

This was so good…

Bon appétit!


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

5 responses »

  1. Another yummy recipe. I can hardly wait to make it.

  2. marshmallowfluffxo

    these look delicious!

  3. I love pasta in all shapes and sizes and my mouth is watering reading this. We often eat it with a plain tomato sauce with a few lardons mixed in but your recipe would jazz it up nicely.


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