Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Anna Sultana's Ricotta Stuffed Shells, Maltese Style / Recipes Using Various Pasta Shapes

Got an e mail about the pasta shells in the store.
Yes, they do come in different sizes.

Some are small.
You can cook and serve them as you would elbow macaroni.
They are very nice with a seafood sauce.
Makes it look like you were going for a theme night.
Little kids really like theme nights.

Then there are the jumbo shells.
Yes, they do look like you're supposed to put something in them.
They are kind of like the manicotti tubes.
Yes, you're supposed to put something in them, too.

I don't know why there are so many shapes.
Just focus on a few favourites if they make you crazy.

Ma had a nice simple recipe for Stuffed Shells.
If there was a bit of leftover ham, she'd dice and add that.
Sometimes she'd also add cooked chopped spinach.
If it was the end of the month, the shells might have a little less stuffing.

Sometimes, when Ma was watching a rerun on TV, she'd make stuffed shells.
She would then place them (on cookie pans) in the freezer.  
When they were frozen, she'd place them in a plastic bag, seal tightly and freeze.

She could then take as many unthawed stuffed shells as she needed.
She'd place them in a casserole, cover them with a sauce and bake.
For frozen stuffed shells, an hour in a 350º oven usually did the trick.
A sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese before baking is also good.

What?  You think frozen dinners are a new idea?

                        Stuffed Shells

For Stuffing

In a bowl combine
1 pound ricotta
2 large eggs
1/2 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
Over high heat bring the water to a boil.
salt to taste
340 grams jumbo shells
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked but slightly chewy.
Drain the shells and rinse with cold water.
Stuff the shells.
If freezing see above.
If cooking see below.

If the shells are for tonight's dinner:

Have ready
Marinara Sauce (a double recipe or more, depending on the number of shells)

Preheat oven 350º

Place a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole.
Place the stuffed shells in the casserole.
Add some sauce over the shells.
Bake, covered, 30 minutes, until hot.
Serve immediately with 
grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Serve some crusty bread on the side to sop up the sauce.

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