I really need to work on my presentation, by remembering to wipe away any spots or dribbles before taking photos. Such an amateur! But I am really enjoying all of this and that’s what really matters, right?
Last night I made this.
Sausage & Cheese Stuffed Shells.
I knew I wanted to implement a pasta dish into my weekend meal planning and spaghetti, while always delish, gets boring. I decided I’d make stuffed shells. I had a 1lb package of ground Italian sausage on hand and was just going to do the basic stuffed shells in a meat sauce but hey, that’s boring, also. I chose to stuff the shells with not only the usual suspects of ricotta, mozzarella and parmesano, but also the sausage.
Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner! While I’m positively sure this is not an original idea. It was in our house and we loved it!
So, you’ll need the basics…
Heat a tablespoon of EVOO on low, add a clove of minced garlic and saute for a minute or two and then add sausage. Brown and crumble with spatula into small, bitesize (or smaller) pieces.
While doing this, you can make the sauce. Look, if you are one of those people who make your sauce from scratch, kudos to you. I, on the other hand, use a basic, traditional, jarred sauce (2 jars in this case) and just doctor the hell out of it with basil, oregano, garlic and tablespoon of grape jelly. Grape jelly, you ask? Yes, I like the sweetness of it compared to adding sugar…but you can just add sugar, or not. The sauce really is to your own liking. Doctor away, my friends!
After you’ve made the sauce, or opened the jars and doctored your sauce, let it simmer for the remainder of your preparation.
Preheat oven to 350°
- 5 cups of grated mozzarella (set 1 cup aside)
- 15oz container of ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated parmesano
- 2 eggs
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Ground sausage
In a mixing bowl, add 4 cups mozzarella, ricotta and parmesano and mix together. Then add eggs and herbs, salt & pepper. Fold in sausage until well combined.
Take a 9×13 baking dish or pan and ladle about 3 ladlefuls of sauce into the bottom, spread around. You will put the stuffed shells onto this lovely bed of saucy goodness.
Using 1 box of Jumbo Shells, boil according to box instructions. I boiled them about 14mins. Rinse and drain well.
Let’s stuff the shells…with our hands. There’s just something really satisfying about using your hands when cooking. For those of you that prefer not to use your hands, grab a spoon!
Whether by hand or spoon, you’ll stuff them to look like this
Place them side by side in your dish/pan. Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 mins covered. You will then uncover and sprinkle with that 1 cup of mozzarella you set aside earlier. Bake uncovered for 5-7 mins. Just enough to melt the cheese.
Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes. Serve with a salad and breadsticks.