Monday, April 8, 2013

Stuffed Shells

After all the workout news . . . I think we should discuss some food.  Specifically my Stuffed Shells recipe . . . that I 'borrowed' from Barilla

It's fabulous.  Both Getzy and the kids love them . . . and there are very few meatless dishes I serve where Getzy will issue a thumbs up.  Winning.

Originally this recipe came off the back of a Barilla jumbo shells box.  I've been making it for years . . . I tried to find the original recipe from the Barilla site, but couldn't . . . and their site kinda sucked so really, you're lucky to have me. 

Alrighty then . . . gather up your ingredients!
Cook the jumbo shells according to the package directions . . . you can even reduce the time by a minute or two because we are baking these . . . but definitely do NOT overcook.  I count out 20 shells (about half the box) when I'm making this dish.  OCD.  I know.  It makes 18 shells but adding a couple extra allows for some of them to break in the process.
I drain the shells and immediately drop them in ice water to make sure they don't continue to cook.  It also cools them off so they are easier to handle come stuffing time.
Get out a big ole bowl and crack the egg in the bottom.  Break up the yoke and 'scramble' the egg a bit.  Then empty in your container of Ricotta cheese (I use part-skim) . . . this is one of my favorite parts.  Plop.
Now it's time to go all Pioneer Woman on things and grate up a big pile of mozzarella cheese.  She refuses to buy the pre-shredded cheese and when I can, I try to do the same. 
Add 1-3/4 cups of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and 1-1/2 teaspoons of dried parsley flakes. 
Mix the ingredients up really well, getting rid of any clumps of the Parmesan cheese.  And yes, I had fresh but just didn't take the time to grate this too.  Don't hate.
Spread about 1/3 to 1/2 of the jar of tomato sauce on the bottom of an un-greased 9 X 13 baking dish. 
Drain the shells well and start stuffing.  I use a soup spoon to gather up some filling and stuff the shells.  Don't overfill . . . you can always go back and add the leftovers to the shells when you have stuffed them all. 
I usually make three rows of six stuffed shells.  If I have extra empty shells, then I just put them in the corners before adding the toppings.
Pour the remaining sauce over the shells evenly.  Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the shells.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional five minutes to brown the cheese.  Let stand for five minutes before serving.
 
My best tip is to spray the foil that is touching the shells with Pam or smear with olive oil.  If not, the shells will stick and when you remove the foil to cook for the last five minutes, a serious mess will ensue.
I'm clearly a serious food blogger since I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.  Here is your proof that this is a 'Delicious Dish' (said in my best Saturday Night Live funny voice).
 
Stuffed Shells
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 box of jumbo pasta shells
1 jar of prepared spaghetti sauce
1 egg
1 15 oz. container of Ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh or 1-1/2 tsp. dried parsley
 
Directions:
  • Cook jumbo shells according to package directions and drain. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg.  Add the ricotta cheese, 1-3/4 mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Mix well.
  • Spread about 1/3 to 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 13 X 9 baking dish.
  • Fill cooked shells with ricotta mixture and arrange in baking dish.
  • Pour remaining sauce over shells.  Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake, covered, for about 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake and additional five minutes.  Let stand five minutes to cool.

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