Friday, July 15, 2011

Stuffed Shells - Two Ways

Have you ever noticed that anything with a red sauce doesn't photograph well? :-)  We love stuffed shells and we have two different ways that we enjoy them.  One is with meat and one is with cheese!  One of the great things about both of these recipes is that they can be made ahead and frozen.  Plus, it is a perfect guest dinner - make a pan of each type and guests can pick what they like or make them up and take them to someone else for dinner. 

First up is the Stuffed Cheese Shells:


Stuffed Shells with Cheese

2 dozen large pasta shells

2 teaspoons salt

24 ounces part skim ricotta cheese

¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs, Italian seasoned

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 egg, slightly beaten

Pasta Sauce, jarred or homemade

Cook shells in boiling salted water, following package directions.  Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt, parsley and egg; mix until well blended.

Cover bottom of 9x13 baking dish with a thin layer of sauce.  Carefully spoon cheese mixture into shells; arrange shells, opening side down, in tomato sauce in pan.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 374 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.  Return stuffed shells to oven and bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

** This recipe can be cut in half and placed in a 8x8 pan.  

Secondly are the Stuffed Meat Shells: 
Stuffed Pasta Shells
12 to 16 Jumbo pasta shells
1 Tablespoon butter                                1 ½ cups spaghetti sauce
1/3 cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground mild Italian Sausage
1/8 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
     Cook shells according to the package directions.  Rinse with hot water; set aside
     Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet melt butter; add onion and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until tender (3-4 minutes).  Add beef and sausage.  Continue cooking until meat is browned; drain.  Add basil, oregano and 1 cup cheese.  Spread ¾ cup spaghetti sauce on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish.  Stuff cooked shells with meat mixture; place meat side down in prepared pan.  Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over shells.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover pasta with aluminum foil.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.  Remove aluminum foil.  Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over past and sauce.  Continue baking, uncovered, until cheese is melted (4-6 minutes)
** This can also be cut in 1/2 and placed in an 8x8 pan