I’ve never made stuffed shells before. I make a killer Vegetarian Lasagna of Doom, but I have never attempted stuffed shells before. These were pretty awesome.
I recently started ordering my groceries online because some days, I just don’t have the spoons to go to the store, and when several of those days happen in a row, we end up eating, say, a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. Being the frugal shopper that I am, I begin my meal planning by perusing the “specials” section, and last week, both ricotta and jumbo shells were on sale.
Well! That was simply an invitation to create a dish that I have loved in restaurants but never made at home. I bought the ingredients about 10 days ago but hadn’t had the energy until last night to make the meal. Yesterday, I ran around on sleep deprivation and did all kinds of crazy things like ran errands, replanted my seeds, and made this delicious meal.
Since we’re big on having a spare meal in the freezer, I made this in pie tins (I made three, but probably could have stretched it to four with the quantities that I’ve adjusted a bit below… the ratios didn’t come out quite right! I had a few extra shells and such). We ate one pie tin, and the others were wrapped in heavy foil before baking and put in the freezer for another day.
Here’s a tip if you’re going to do freezer meals: Use a lot of sauce! There’s nothing worse than pasta that gets all hard when reheated because it didn’t have enough sauce on it. (This is also the key to a great lasagna!)
8 oz of mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
two huge handfuls baby spinach
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup red wine
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons (ish?) extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a few good shakes of parmesan & romano cheeses
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1 large jar of tomato sauce
1 box jumbo shells
Cook jumbo shells according to package directions (but watch it – they always say to overcook that stuff!). Drain and run under cold water to cool. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute garlic for about 2 minutes in the olive oil. Add mushrooms and red wine and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook the mushrooms. Let cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, combine the mushrooms mixture with the ricotta. Add the parmesan cheese and about 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese. Add some fresh ground pepper.
Put a thin layer of sauce in each pie tin (or whatever pan you happen to be using).
Fill each shell with a rounded spoonful and put the open side down into the pan. I tried to close them up a bit before putting them down to avoid leakage. Assemble the shells closely, but not too crowded, in the pan. Spoon sauce over each shell and around the edges, making sure that all of the pasta is covered. Sprinkle with more mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes (fresh) or until the cheese is melty and the shells are warmed through (stick yo’ finger in there!). If reheating from frozen, let it defrost on the counter for about 20 minutes (I’m guessing, I’ll update when I do this) and it will take a bit longer in the oven.
Serve with a green salad and garlic bread if desired.