Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stuffed Shells

This is one of the few meals that our whole family will eat. (Yes . . . I'm guilty of being a short order cook.)

Tonight I'm making stuffed shells and no knead bread. This recipe is modified from a recipe on allrecipes.

1 2-cup container of ricotta (I use whole milk)
8 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (but not pre-shredded)
1 egg (upped to 2)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (sometimes I forget this)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil

8 ounces of jumbo shells*

*For some reason, they seem to come in a 12 ounce package, so I use 2/3 of a package. Tonight this equaled about 28 shells.

Bring well salted water to a boil (1 use about 2-3 tsp of salt). Add the shells and set a timer for 1 minute less than the package recommends (so I'm cooking mine 13 minutes since it recommends 14-15). It's much easier to work with shells that are on the firmer side of things. If they're too tender, they will tear. Also, make sure you stir them when you first put them in the water and then again every so often so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, in the cuisinart, shred your cheese using the grater, then change the blade to the metal one and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend the filling. Scoop the filling into either a pastry bag (which is what I use, with no tip added) or a large ziplock bag with the corner snipped. (Well, snip after you fill.)

Once the timer goes off for the shells, I drain immediately and rinse in cold water. I then begin placing them on a sheet pan lined with waxed paper. This keeps the shells separated and cool for filling.

I use my naked pastry bag (no tip needed) to fill my shells. That makes it super easy. Put a thin layer of sauce in a baking dish (1/3 cup or so). As you fill the shells, line them up in the dish.  My kids don't like chunks in their sauce, but a homemade sauce can be too much for this dish. We use Bertolli Tomato & Basil sauce, but I then puree it with the stick blender to get rid of the chunks. Anywho, fill your shells, then pour or spoon a medium line of sauce down the middle of all your shells. You don't want them swimming in the sauce, just flavored. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top of them all and bake about 25 minutes at 350.

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