stuffed pasta shells
This lovely stuffed pasta shell recipe is perfect for vegetarians because it is meat-free, but it also makes a nice dish for carnivores who fancy a change from beef, chicken or pork-based pasta dishes. Feel free to add some ground beef to the sauce if you do want meat in there though. These pasta shells are loaded with tomato sauce and 3 kinds of cheeses, and it is simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser. Nobody can resist the allure of stuffed pasta, especially when the flavor is as good as it is here.
You can double the recipe if you are feeding a crowd, or even double it anyway and then simply freeze one batch for a future meal. Mozzarella, Italian-blend and ricotta cheeses combine with parsley and basil to make the filling for the pasta shells, and then you can arrange the stuffed shells in a baking dish and pour your favorite tomato sauce over the top, either a plain tomato sauce, a herbed kind, or a homemade one if you want.
The pasta shells will be cooked just shy of al dente when you stuff them because they will become more tender in the oven during baking. The cheese filling will melt too, to make the dish so creamy and indulgent. Add some extra cheese on top and keep baking until the dish is piping hot. Serve it with a green salad or your favorite vegetables, and perhaps some garlic bread too. Continue reading
Giant pasta shells are a lot of fun to work with, and there are all kinds of lovely fillings to use in them. One of the most popular ways to cook giant pasta shells is to stuff them with a creamy mixture and then add sauce and bake them. Rather than the tomato sauce a lot of Italian cooks use, we have chosen to use Alfredo sauce, to offer a really creamy flavor and complement the flavors in the pasta filling.
The pasta shells are cooked and while they are cooking you can prepare the filling. Combine ricotta (or cottage cheese if you prefer) and parmesan with basil, chicken, egg, spinach, and a little nutmeg, to make your filling, and then it can be divided between the pasta shells. This mixture will be enough to stuff 18 pasta shells. Now, if you want to make this dish ahead you can make it up to this point and then cover and freeze for up to a month. When you want to cook it, thaw it for 24 hours in the refrigerator, let it stand at room temperature for half an hour then bake it covered for 80 minutes.
Each person will get 3 stuffed pasta shells along with some of the Alfredo sauce. It is recommended that you serve something contrasting since you have a creamy filling plus a creamy sauce, so consider some cherry tomatoes sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, some crisp green asparagus spears, or even bruschetta with a tomato, garlic and basil topping. Continue reading
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