Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stuffed Shells

I got it in my head the other day that I wanted to make stuffed shells. I have vague memories of my mother making pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and covered in tomato sauce when I was young, but hadn't eaten them probably since that time. After a little Pinterest fun, I found a number of vegetarian stuffed shells recipes and got to work. 

I'm now inspired to create a version stuffed with squash (since I seem to have a never-ending supply of it!), but this time around I was happy with the spinach/artichoke classic recipe I made, courtesy of Pink Basil. You (ahem, my husband) might think this recipe is complicated, what with it's multiple steps of boiling, mixing, stuffing, and baking, but I assure you, it's actually quite simple. You can mix together the filling while the shells are boiling, and stuffing the shells is easy if you squeeze them open gently like one of those old-school rubber coin purses. I love that this recipe required only a few pantry staples: pasta, jarred sauce, ricotta, parm, spinach and artichoke hearts - weeknight win! You could really speed up this recipe by pre-boiling the shells - then all you'd have to do is stir together the filling and stuff them. Recommended beverage: boxed red wine. A real Italian feast, I tell you!

The only changes I would make next time around would be to add a bit more "zip." I didn't notice any addition of salt and pepper or other spices in the recipe, so I didn't think to add them. (I was trying to follow the recipe closely, which I don't often do!) I would probably salt and pepper the filling mixture, and maybe even stir in some lemon zest or Italian seasoning. I would also probably sprinkle red pepper flakes over the top before baking. I definitely think I'll be trying this again! Recipe here

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