Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stuffed Shells

Cheesy Stuffed Shells.... De-licious!
Complexity Level:  Easy
Stuffed Shells
What You Need:
16 oz. Shell Pasta

12 0z Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp Dried Parsley or 1 tbsp minced fresh
1 tsp Garlic Powder

24 oz. Tomato Puree/ Sauce
12 oz Crushed/Diced Tomatoes
2 Bay Leaves
1 Shallot, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Oregano
1 tbsp Parsley Flakes

Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Parmesan (Optional)

These are much simpler than the list may show.  To start you will need 2 large pots.  One with the water and about 2 tsp Salt in it, the oter start heating the olive oil, minced shallots and garlic.  When the water is boiling, add the shell pasta.  You do not want to over cook these!  We will bake them and want the intergrity of their shape, so when al dente (still a little hard), remove them from the stove, drain, and soak in ice water.  This will help cool them for handling.

Meanwhile, do not forget about your garlic and shallots!  Check on them hile you cater to the noodles.  When they began to look like they sweated out some of their flavors, add the remaining sauce ingreditents, stir, lower the heat to medium low, and let this simmer about 30 minutes.

The last thing to focus on is the filling.  This is super simple and you can make it the minute you start the water for the pasta.  Stir the egg, ricotta, parmesan, parsley, and garlice in a medium bowl.  Viola!  Chill until needed if necessary.

Assembly is simple!  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the shells from the water bath and pat them dry.  Next, ladle a layer of sauce into a 9X13 baking dish/ casserole dish.  To stuff, spoon the filling into the shell and set over the sauce layer in your 9 X13 baking dish/ casserole dish.

Repeat until all shells are stuffed.  Top will heaps of sauce and a liberal amount of mozzarella cheese.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through.  I love to serve with fresh Parmesan cheese shavings, fresh parsley, and a giant piece of garlic bread!



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