Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stuffed Shells

Lasagna has always been on of my favorite recipes.  Here is something very similar but with a slight variation because its shells.  Also a quick tomato sauce is included, but feel free to use any store bought sauce if you are short on time!

12 oz box jumbo shells
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1/4 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mozzarella cheese, split into 1 1/2 and 1/2 cup
1 egg
1 cup parmesan cheese
8 oz container frozen spinach
20 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup store bought alfredo sauce or heavy cream (optional)
4 basil leaves
dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil a large pot of water.  Once water has boiled, add 2 tablespoons of salt and toss in the jumbo shells.  Allow to cook about 14 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool in colander.

In a small sauce pan heat the oil and saute the crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, and onions on medium heat until they become translucent.  They will also smell fantastic!  This should take 5-10 minutes.

Then add the tomato paste and stir together with the garlic and onions.  Fill the empty can with water and dump into the pot.  Stir together until completely combined.  Stir in the 2 cans of tomato sauce and fill only one with water and empty into the pot.  Stir until combined. I know this water in a can thing sounds crazy, but it gives it the perfect consistency and flavor!  Leave on a medium low flame and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Put the frozen spinach in the microwave and cook according to the package.  Drain as much excess water as you possibly can.   

Mix the spinach with the alfredo sauce or heavy cream as well as one egg.

Stir in the ricotta,  1 1/2 cups mozzarella, and parmesan cheese until combined.

Line two baking dishes with about 1/3 of the tomato sauce.  Then stuff each shell with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling and line in the baking dish.

Cover the top with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.  Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve and enjoy!

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