Monday, November 1, 2010

Stuffed Pasta Shells

Man, it's been a while since my last post! It's not that I haven't been cooking -- I have, I swear. Pork chops, stuffed chicken breasts, soy-glazed salmon, etc. I just haven't been able to find time to take pictures/blog about it. I started my clerkship back in September, and then Dan and I moved into our new condo -- between commuting to/from work, buying a car, furnishing the condo, and getting lost in our new neighborhood on almost a daily basis, I barely have the energy to wolf down my dinner before it's time to fall into bed.

We also adopted a kitten, so a lot of our time in the evenings is spent trying to buy her love with food and belly rubs. She's definitely getting a little spoiled by all the attention. Her new favorite activity is jumping into bed with us way too early in the morning and making a nuisance of herself until one of us surrenders and gets up to feed her. Just this morning I was woken up by the little fur ball at 5:30am -- come to think of it, maybe this is why I've been too tired in the evenings to cook/take pictures/blog.

Today was the first day in a long time that I had a chance to cook at a leisurely pace. Emily and Smriti came over to see the new place and meet my kitty, and I decided to feed them too.

The pasta shells were stuffed and baked in less than an hour, smothered in cream sauce, and heartily enjoyed with garlic bread and glasses of wine. Delicious! (And even better cold the next day)

Stuffed Pasta Shells: (From...Food Network, I think)

- 12 jumbo pasta shells

- 2-1/2 cups ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used mushrooms this time)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.

- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic, inced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tbsp chopped chives or green onions
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes

(1) Preheat oven to 350.
(2) Butter 9x13 glass baking dish. Set aside.
(3) Boil medium pot of water. Add pasta shells and cook for about 9 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
(4) In large bowl, mix ricotta and Parmesan.
(5) In medium skillet over medium heat, add garlic, spinach, and mushrooms. Stir until spinach is wilted and mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
(6) Add spinach/mushroom mixture to cheese mixture. Combine well.
(7) Stuff each shell with a heaping spoonful of the filling and line them up in the baking dish.
(8) For the sauce, heat the butter in a sauce. Add garlic and flour, whisk until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk. Whisk until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Remove from heat and add chives, 1 cup Parmesan, and tomatoes. Pour over shells.
(9) Bake for 30 minutes.

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