Stardust

Writings from my little corner of modern domesticity.

Recipe: Stuffed Shells

Sorry- one more! The kitchen subject in the last one reminded me that I actually have a recipe to share with you all. That I made. It was originally inspired by a Real Simple recipe for stuffed shells, and then I edited it enough that I think I can call it mine. It’s not like there’s much a person can call theirs about a basic stuffed shell recipe, anyway.

But here it is (sorry there’s no photo- we ate it before I thought to take one this time. Oh well. I’ll get it later.)

Stuffed Shells

Generously serves 2

15ish (approx. 6 oz. or half a package) jumbo shells
1/2 jar pasta sauce, whatever your favorite kind is, or make 12 oz. of your own
15 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
6 oz. fancy shredded mozzarella cheese (regular shredded works, too- it just doesn’t melt as well)
4 oz. (1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
Handful of fresh basil leaves or about a palm’s covering dried

  1. Shift the oven rack to the highest position. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cook shells according to package directions. When finished, move to colander and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together all the cheeses (reserve some mozzarella for topping or use additional) until well-blended. Add basil- if dried, stir in by parts to ensure even mixing. If using fresh, shred or dice finely and add by parts, as well. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Line bottom of baking dish (I used a 13×9 glass cake pan) with pasta sauce.
  5. Take the cheese mixture and stuff it into the cooled shells. I find it easiest to just use my hands. If you have shells or cheese left over, it’s perfectly fine to save it for a few days in the fridge and eat some other way. The cheese is delicious on a toasted bagel.
  6. Place stuffed shells in the sauced pan, cheese-filled opening up.
  7. Sprinkle reserved (or additional) mozzarella on top of shells.
  8. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until cheese appears well-melted.

Allow to cool 3 minutes before serving.

Also delicious with red pepper flakes added in with the basil.

 

I’ll snatch a photo next time we make it, promise. Ryan loves it so we’ll definitely be doing it again. The quantities on the non-ricotta cheese and the basil are approximate, since I basically did handfuls and taste to figure it. I’ve gotten to the point in my cooking where I view recipes as guidelines and don’t necessarily stick to the hard-and-fast of the numbers. Baking, though, I totally do.

Cooking is an art; baking is a science.

If you make these, let me know how it went and if you think there’s something that could be improved. I do want to try it with some other cheeses, but I’m not sure where to start just yet. Anyway- enjoy!

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