akh

ultimate stuffed shells

In dinner on November 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm

you know that show tyler’s ultimate where tyler florence adds a ton of butter to everyday foods to make them taste better? well this is icf’s ultimate stuffed shells. except without the butter.

start with a lot of garlic – 4 cloves – because there are going to be lots of strong flavors, so you need each to shine through. heat it in olive oil over medium heat in a good-sized pot.

shellsgarlic

then i added coarsely chopped button mushrooms (remember never to wash mushrooms! wipe dirt off them with a damp cloth) – coarsely chopped because they will cook down and you still want them to have some substance – and onion.

shellsmushies

shellsonions

and coarsely chopped black kale (from the box, bien sur).

shellskale

shellskalecut

i sauteed all this until the mushrooms were soft and the kale turned bright in color (this is when you know kale is done if you don’t want your kale overcooked).

shellsmixturedone

i let this mixture cool while i started my pasta water and made sure my shells were mostly unbroken.

shellsshells

(using one of my fave techniques, i tossed the green beans i was going to serve on the side in with the pasta for the last 3 or so minutes.)

shellsbeans

do remember to NOT cook your pasta all the way! it will finish cooking in the oven and you don’t want your shells to just dissolve away.

while the pasta was cooking, i mixed about half a carton of ricotta cheese into the vegetable mixture. season to taste with salt and pepper.

shellsricotta

shellsricotta1

when the shells (and green beans) were done and (barely) cool enough to handle, i filled each with a spoonful of ricotta mixture and arranged them in a baking dish. (before starting to stuff i recommend preheating your oven to 375 degrees.)

shellsstuffing

shellsstuffed

once the shells were stuffed, i topped them with at least a cup of jarred tomato sauce (by all means, use homemade if you have it!)

shellstomato

thinly sliced fresh mozzarella (because i had some around and it wasn’t going to last another day)

shellsmozz

and some seasoned bread crumbs (panko would work great here if you have it) mixed with grated parmesan cheese. this was designed to create a nice crispy crust.

shellscrumbs

shellscrumbtopping

don’t feel like you have to have all the fillings or cheeses i used. the point of this is to be creative with what you have around.

bake until the sauce bubbles, the cheese melts and/or the top gets brown and crispy. i didn’t do this (because i didn’t have any) but i recommend covering the dish with tin foil for the first 30 minutes or so, and then taking it off to brown the top.

how good does this look?

shellsdone

fyi, i timed the process so i could let you know how long it took in total – just over one hour from start to tummy. i did lose a little time, though – trying to limit my dirty dishes, after cooking the mushrooms and kale, i washed the pot and boiled my pasta water in it. if i had done the pasta at the same time as the veggies in two pots, it would have saved me about 20 minutes.

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  1. I am making stuffed shells for dinner this week, too! :-) There’s a little Italian place near me and they use ground chicken in theirs… it was unexpected and yummy. Fingers crossed that I can duplicate.

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