Sunday, February 3, 2013

Awesome And Easy Stuffed Shells


I'm not exactly a gourmet cook. I'm the kind of person who has no clue whatsoever about how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, make a pie or even keep spaghetti from sticking together. I'm embarrassed to cook for some of my friends who are the gourmet types because I'm afraid they'll look down their noses at whatever I make. Yes, I know that would be a rude thing to do, but that's not the point. I'm not much of a cook. I did, however, manage to make one of my favorite Italian dishes-stuffed shells-well. In fact, my husband often bugs me to make them as a special treat! You might not think so, but these are pretty easy to make. Here's the recipe I use:

12 jumbo-size pasta shells-I use Mueller's
14-16 oz ricotta cheese
Romano, parmesan, mozzarella, provolone and asiago cheeses, shredded (you can sometimes find this blend in the cheese section of the grocery store), roughly 2 oz each, to taste
Parsley, oregano, garlic and/or other Italian spices-roughly 1 tsp each, to taste
20-24 oz pasta sauce
6x6 casserole dish

Most of these measurements have been 'tweaked' to fit my taste at the time, so they are not exact. Feel free to make whatever adjustments you need to.

Preheat the oven to 375. Cover the shells in a pot with water and boil. You will want the shells to be slightly 'harder' than you might make other pasta dishes, because you are going to need them to hold their shape while you spoon in the cheese. Plus, they're going to soften some more while in the oven. While the pasta is cooking, put the cheeses and spices in a mixing bowl and blend. As I said, most of the measurements don't have to be exact. Some recipes use egg, but it's not really necessary. Be sure to leave some of the shredded cheese behind, because you're going to sprinkle it on the top of the sauce.

Take the shells off of the stove and drain them. You can rinse them with cold water to cool them down a bit or leave them for a few minutes, because they're going to be really hot! Put the cheese mixture into each shell with a spoon and lay them in the dish. When you have all of the shells in the pan, pour the pasta sauce on top and sprinkle the leftover cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When you remove the pan, let it stand for about five minutes.

This is the basic recipe, but you can easily make it your own. For an extra twist, use pesto sauce instead of the 'average' tomato! I've also put cooked chicken or hamburger in between the shells for my meat-lover husband. Otherwise, it's a good vegetarian dish.

As you can see, it's an easy recipe to make. My food-snob friends mentioned above even loved it! It is sure to be a hit for your next dinner party or for just a normal dinner. Enjoy!


3 comments:

  1. Another thing I have never tried. My son is going to be eating all American for the next month. I want to try all of these recipes!

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  2. The only thing Italian I have tried was spaghetti, and I don't think the person who made it made it the right way.

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  3. Oh ricotta cheese is awesome. I would love to make this recipe.

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