Friday, November 15, 2013

Recipe #255: Stuffed Shells

I heavily modified a recipe I found on (where else?!?) based on recommendations from others, and it turned out great- fresh ingredients make a big difference.  Maybe some day I'll make my own ricotta cheese.  The original recipe called for cottage cheese, but that just didn't seem authentic.  I didn't quite use all the shells I cooked, and the fresh ingredients are rough estimates to replace the dry ones from the original recipe.  I also added the spinach and black pepper.  This made a lot of food, and even after some second helpings, the dish was still about 2/3 full!  I edited the recipe to reflect how I customized it.

1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
4 cups ricotta cheese
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh spinach
1.Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
2.Mix together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, and garlic powder. Add basil, parsley, and spinach, and stir into the cheese mixture. Stuff mixture into the shells by piping with a plastic sandwich (or bigger) bag with the corner cut off.
3.Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Layer some of the extra shells on top where there's more space.  Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  
4.Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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