Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stuffed shells with meaty tomato sauce

Want to impress your family?
Make this. Seriously. When they come into the kitchen and see you painstakingly stuffing each pasta shell, it is really impressive.
And then your (older) kid will go to school and tell all her friends "my mom made these from scratch" and come home and tell you "all the kids were really impressed with your shells."
And the little one? She will just scowl at you, because she's almost 2, but will come home with an empty container from preschool.

So. You can make these as is, or you could substitute turkey sausage, or you could use your favorite marinara recipe. The real star is the pasta shells stuffed with all that lovely cheese.
Also, this makes a ton. So be prepared to have people over, or to eat a lot.

adapted slightly from Pioneer Woman

8 ounces, weight Jumbo Pasta Shells
30 ounces, weight Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 c. Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
½ cups Grated Romano Cheese
1 whole Egg
12 leaves Basil, Chiffonade
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Medium Onion, Chopped
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 pound Italian Sausage
½ cups Red Wine
1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 whole 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.
Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.
In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.
To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

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