Saturday, September 17, 2011
Is it weird that I'm a 22 year-old food-lover, who has a blog that's almost a year old, and I have never until this week tried stuffed shells? It's not that I haven't wanted to... this recipe (in one form or another) has been on my mind for years. I've seen countless recipes, countless mouth-watering photos, countless claims of heavenly flavor and consistency... why oh why has it taken me so long to try this dish?
Well let's just say, friends... I think I have a new favorite meal.
I've always been a big fan of lasagna. Starchy pasta, creamy cheese, gratuitous amounts of tomato-y, basil-y, galric-y marinara... what's not to love? And, after perusing the ingredients lists on most of the recipes I found, I wondered how much different stuffed shells could be from lasagna. Not that it really needed to be different. After all, I do love me some lasagna.
But somehow these are different. In the same way that calzones and pizza are comprised of essentially the same things but somehow totally crave-able in completely different ways. But, most importantly, stuffed shells are different from lasagna in an amazing, I-could-eat-this-every-night-of-the-week kind of way. Not kidding folks... new favorite meal, right here. :)
Spinach-Stuffed Shells with Sausage Marinara
a Learning Curve Original
yields 4-6 servings
6 ounces jumbo shells
15 ounces part-skim ricotta
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces Italian sausage
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for sprinkling, if desired
1. Cook shells according to package directions. Drain well and allow to cool until able to handle.
2. Brown sausage in a medium deep saute pan over medium heat. Once cooked, add the marinara sauce and heat through.
3. Combine the ricotta, spinach, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Grease a 9x13" pan or spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce mixture over the bottom of prepared pan. Gently stuff each pasta shell with about 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture, and place in the pan seam-side down. Repeat until all shells are stuffed or you've run out of ricotta mixture, whichever comes first.
5. Spoon remaining sauce over shells. Grate Parmesan or Romano cheese over the top if desired. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve while hot!