Thursday, November 11, 2010

stuffed shells

I read Molly's article in Bon Appetit on making the perfect meatballs when the issue came out. A week or so ago I was reminded of the article by someone at work talking about making meatballs. So I came and searched out the article and was planning on making the meatballs for supper Hallowe'en night until I realized it was Hallowe'en night and it wasn't really condusive to eating on the run. Well, it would be if I made everything in advance and then just heated it up and cooked the spagetti. Anyway long story short, I still haven't made the meatballs and the meatball meat has been frozen into blocks in the overstuffed freezer. But the thought of pasta has logged itself in my brain so we've had it a bit in the last couple of weeks. So a couple of weekends ago, when we had been planning on going out for dinner but that fell through, I rummaged through my cupboards and came up with a box of giant pasta shells. And inspired by Ree's recent recipe, I returned to a classic from my teenage years, when this was in regular rotation on the night's I cooked.

1 tub (500 ML) ricotta cheese
1 bag baby spinach
1 egg
2 tsps roasted garlic
grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/2 c grated mozarella
1/3 c parmesan crumbles

1 jar favorite marinara sauce
1 medium onion, sliced
handful of mushrooms, sliced

~ 24 cooked giant pasta shells

Cook the pasta  shells in salted water. Saute the spinach until wilted. Once wilted, drain well and squeeze as much of the water out as possible. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, spinach, egg, garlic, cheeses and seasoning.

 In the saute pan, add 1-2 tsp of olive oil and saute the onion and mushrooms until tender, then add the marinara sauce. Simmer and season as desired. Into a greased 9x13 casserole dish, pour about 1/2 c of the marinara sauce and spread somewhat evenly over the bottom. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture - a largish tablespoon of filling per shell. Place each shell into the dish, nestled into the sauce. Once all the shells are filled, pour over the rest of the marinara sauce and then sprinkle with more cheese. Bake at 350 deg F for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted and golden brown.

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