Stuffed to the Gills Shells

stuffed shells 2Sometimes, great things take some time. I’m not one for a lot of fussy cooking. I don’t make ravioli a lot because of the time it takes to make the dough and roll it out, and invest in a ravioli cutter of some sort and so forth. I don’t make cupcakes much for the same reason.
But this is worth it. I promise you.And this recipe makes enough for two casseroles, and so you can freeze one. It won’t be as good, since pasta doesn’t hold up well to freezing, but it will be okay. Enough okay that your family will love you for it. And you will love it. And that really matters! So let the taste buds have a party with this Italian love fest. INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe of your favorite Italian sauce.  (or a jar of something if you must)
  • 1 box of large shells
  • 1 lb of ground round, or pork, or sausage of your choice.
  • 1 egg
  • about 2 cups of raw chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 bunch of kale or swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 2/3 c of freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 1  16 oz container of full milk ricotta
  • about 1/3 c chopped basil
  • 16 oz of fresh mozzarella, shredded


  1. Cook the meat (use a bit of olive oil if needed) Remove with a slotted spoon and use the pan to cook the mushrooms until they have given up their liquid and are done.
  2. Cook the shells in salted water until al dente. Drain and let cool.
  3. Place the mushrooms in a bowl, adding the garlic to it and mix.
  4. Steam the kale or chard until nicely wilted.
  5. Add to the mushrooms and let it cool on the counter.
  6. In a small bowl whisk the egg. Add the ricotta and the Parmigiano and mix.
  7. Add the meat to the mushroom mixture and pour the egg mixture over all, mix thoroughly but gently.
  8. When the shells are cool, oil a baking pan (2) for this recipe. Place a couple of ladles of sauce in the bottom of each and spread around.
  9. With an ice cream scoop, scoop up a the meat mixture and place in the shell. Place shells in the baking dish as you go along. They will fall over, but once you get them in fairly tight, you can aright them.
  10. When you have used up all the filling, pour your sauce over the shells, not to cover completely but be generous.
  11. Scatter the shredded mozzarella over.
  12. If freezing one, cover with foil and seal well, and place in freezer.
  13. Place in a 350° preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. Scatter the chopped basil over the top. Let sit for about 10-15 before serving.

SERVES: 6 well

NOTES: Serve extra grated cheese at the table. Goes beautifully with a nice salad with a light vinaigrette and some great bread.



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