Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stuffed Shells...be still my sleep deprived heart!



With the exception of a three hour nap from 5 am to 8 am this morning, I have been up for almost 1.5 days working on a grant for my internship site.  It has been a project of mammoth proportions and I was relieved to finally upload, submit, and place into the charitable pot for consideration.   Having said all that...I am loopy tired and am fighting the urge to take a very loooooong nap.  My husband has been staying out of my way while I finished the project, so I felt the need to cook up some food that appeased both of our palates.

He wanted shells in cheese....I wanted a nap.  Neither one of us felt like going to the commissary, so we compromised and went ten minutes before they closed.  Quickly grabbed the fixin's for this fabulously delish dish, we did the happy dance when we found a great deal on extra large monster lo carb energy drinks.

Originally we originally found the recipe on another website, but made a few tweaks to personalize it and make it our own.

It is super easy to do, and I even have a trick for keeping your cheese stuffin' clean.

Here's what you have to do:

Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

1 container ricotta cheese (15 oz)
1 large beaten egg
Dash salt
2 c grated buffalo mozzarella cheese separated...none of that shredded bagged stuff!
1/4 c green onions finely minced.
extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of a saute pan...I am liberal with it!
1/2 TB red pepper
Salt, just under a teaspoon
Half a bulb of garlic,smashed, crushed, and then finely chopped
42 oz crushed red tomatoes
1 sm can tomato paste
1 package of sweet Italian sausage links cut up in small bits
jumbo pasta shells

To Prepare:

1)  Heat up water to boil the shells in and make sure you add a little olive oil and salt to the water to infuse them with flavor.
2)  Being by sauteing the sauce links over medium until they are cooked through.  Drain grease.
3)  Take a saucepan and throw in the oil, pepper flakes, salt, and crushed garlic.  Cook over medium high heat until the flavor of the garlic starts to open up and fill the air with its fragrance.
4)  Immediately add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and cooked sweet italian sausage.  
5)  Simmer until flavors are really incorporated.
6)  Turn on oven to 350 degrees.
7)  Mix ricotta, beaten egg, chives, salt, and half of the mozzarella cheese together.
8)  Cook shells until they are al dente.  IMMEDIATELY drain them and run cold water over them until they have cooled down enough to dry out.
9)  While waiting for pasta to dry, place the cheese into one of these babies.


Tovolo Cupcake Pen
10)  Your tomato sauce should be thick by now.  Ladle the lasagna pan bottom.
11)  Using your Cupcake Pen, begin piping cheese mixture into shells.  Lay neatly into the lpan.  (The cool thing about using the cupcake pen, is you will find it much easier to use then a spoon which makes things VERY messsy.
12)  Ladle remainder of sauce over shells and then sprinkle remaining mozzarella over top.  
13)  Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until cheese starts to turn a nice shade of brown.

Here is where it gets sticky.  

14)  Remove pan from oven and don't touch it. I mean it. Don't stick a fork in to taste test.   Don't pick cheese off of it. Keep your husband out of the kitchen, he will be tempted.  Trust me, I know this to be a proven fact.  Let the pan sit for 30 minutes until everything hot has had time to settle down a bit.

When all is good and settled...DIG IN!  


Here's to a well fed husband and a peaceful night.  Cheers!





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