So i’ve been making these stuffed shells for maybe seven years or so… with little variance along the way. Well, yesterday i sent hubby to the market with a short list, which included ‘cream cheese’… one of the ingredients for these shells. He instead bought ricotta cheese, as he thought i wrote the wrong thing. i’m pulling my ingredients from the fridge and i say, “where’s the cream cheese?” he looks at me and says, “you meant to write ricotta, right?” i did not, but i was open to switching it up and test driving them with ricotta… no harm no foul, and i was still glad to get out of grocery shopping no matter what! Well, it ends up they were even better than they ever had been, and we adjusted the salt and pepper together as a team before stuffing all of the shells. we nailed it. i like to top the dish with a few slices of mozzarella or provolone, which i forgot to do yesterday, but they were delish all the same.
OK HERE’S WHAT YOU DO…
start a pot of water boiling to cook your jumbo shells in. cook al dente, as you will be baking them for 50 mins in oven. Place your frozen spinach in a small strainer and let some warm water drizzle over it to thaw in the sink. squeeze all water out of spinach once thawed and set aside. Dice half of an onion and add to a large skillet drizzled with olive oil. Add meat to skillet, and saute with onion until meat is browned. in the meantime, finely chop about six cloves of garlic, and add to meat. give a stir, and add your well drained spinach. stir around to combine, and remove from heat to cool a bit. my dump cook self also added a sprinkle of crushed red pepper once the meat began to brown. Pull out a large bowl and crack an egg in the bottom. add your 15oz container of ricotta, 1/4 cup of parmesan, 1.5 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1/2 tsp of dried basil. combine. stir in 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella. once your meat has cooled a bit, add it to the bowl and combine. now you’re ready to stuff the shells. drizzle two pans with a bit of olive oil (see photo) and then add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of each. (i personally like to use DeFratelli italian all purpose sauce. it comes in a 28 oz can, and you’ll probably need two cans for this recipe.) Stuff your shells and top them with remaining sauce. don’t drown them… as long as you have a modest drizzle of sauce down the middle of each shell row, you’re good. Bake at 350 for 50 mins. Top with cheese near the end if desired. Enjoy with some crusty rustic bread and a big fat glass of Chianti. you’ll make these shells again and again… on that you can bet.
06/02/2012 at 7:54 am
On an ambitious day, I bet that filling would taste good rolled up in some homemade pasta sheets- cannelloni style.
08/14/2012 at 1:45 pm
i agree entirely!! or even a simple crepe like shell- nice and thin… rolled up- thanks for the idea!!