Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Meat Stuffed Giant Shells, Maltese Style

About two years ago I posted Ma's recipe for Ricotta Stuffed Shells, Maltese Style.
It’s delicious, and a favourite of those who prefer cheese stuffings.
But some folks prefer meat in the stuffing.  
No problem.  
Ma had a second recipe, which includes meat, for stuffing large shells.

As with the cheese stuffed shells, the richness of the filling is up to you.

If there was a bit of leftover ham, Ma would dice and add that.
If she had a bit of ground pork, she might have added it.
Sometimes she'd also add cooked chopped spinach.
If it was the end of the month, the shells had a little less stuffing.


Think of stuffed shells as an early form of T.V. dinner.
Sometimes, when Ma was watching a rerun on T.V., 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.


Hint:

Ma's tomato sauce recipe makes about 8 Cups of sauce.
Some folks like a lot of sauce, some like less.
Suit yourself.
If you’d like a little kick you can add 1/3 to 1/2 Cup dry red wine to the portion of the sauce you'll be using as a topping.



                        Meat Stuffed Giant Shells


For Stuffing

In a skillet place
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Cook until the meet is browned.
Set aside about 15 minutes to cool.

Add
8 ounces mozzarella, shredded
1/2 Cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 Cup parsley, chopped
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste


While the stuffing is cooling, place in a large pot 
4 quarts water
Over high heat bring the water to a boil.
Add 
salt to taste
Add
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 on hand
Ma's Tomato Sauce

Preheat oven 400º

Place a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan.
Place the stuffed shells in a single layer on top of the sauce.
Add sauce over the shells.
Sprinkle over the shells
1/2 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes, until hot.
Serve hot with additional
grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Serve with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
A salad or cooked vegetable would also be a good idea.

And the rest of the wine would be a great idea.

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