heidi’s stuffed shells

October 21st, 2011

I love this recipe. I’ve made it once a month since I came across it over the summer and I think about it ALL. THE. TIME. I think its the slightly spicy, slightly lemony thing it has going on.

If you want a really special vegetarian pasta dish this is it. I am not a very brave chef but I went off-recipe for this one and it came out even better. I sautee chopped spinach in garlic and fold it into the ricotta mixture, it makes it especially delicious.

Ingredients:

zest of one lemon

Sauce:
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
scant 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
1 14-ounce can crushed red tomatoes

Filling:
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / ~5 oz grated mozzarella
1 bunch of chives, minced

25-30 jumbo dried pasta shells
Oil a 13 x 9-inch / 33 x 23-cm baking pan, or equivalent, and sprinkle the zest of 1/2 the lemon across it. Set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling, and preheat your oven to 350F / 180C with a rack in the middle.

To make the sauce, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Now stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, just a minute or two. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don’t want to burn your tongue)…If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Let cool.

(BK: I will add that I blend the sauce at this point because I like things saucy rather than chunky-tomatoey in a baked pasta dish. But I always blend my sauce so hey, do what you want)

To make the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until combined, then stir in the mozzarella, remaining lemon zest, and 3/4 of the chives. Set aside.

Cook the shells according to package instructions in well-salted water – until al dente. If you overcook, the shells will tear as you attempt to fill them. Drain and let cool long enough to handle with your hands – see photo.

Spread 1/3 of sauce across the bottom of the prepared pan. Fill each shell with ricotta, and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover for the final 15 minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve hot.

Entry Filed under: At the stove

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Theresa  |  October 24th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I agree, this recipe is the BOMB! Love it.

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