Italian food is among one of my favorites! I found this recipe on The Food Network. This website is a great resource! I love the fact that you can read reviews on the recipe before you try it, so you are less likely to be disappointed with the results! Nothing worse than slaving in the kitchen for hours, not to mention spending money on ingredients and the result is less than satisfactory!
This particular recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. They are delicious (as are a lot of his recipes!) Topped with a simple homemade marinara sauce, and cheesy and meaty on the inside! Your whole family will love them!
I made the whole recipe and split it into two pans. A 8x6 pan and a 8x11 pan. We ate the smaller pan for dinner which was more than enough for my small family of 3! I did not bake the other pan. Instead, I wrapped it in 2 layers of saran wrap and aluminum foil and popped it in my freezer to have a meal ready after I have my baby. (Six weeks left!)
I make up the whole amount of Emeril's seasoning and keep it in a jar in my spice cupboard. It is a great seasoning!
SUPER STUFFED SHELLS
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (18 to 20 shells)
- 2 cups finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Basic Red Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pasta shells, and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a long-handled spoon to prevent the shells from sticking together. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until very soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the ground veal and cook, stirring, until cooked and browned. Add the squeezed spinach and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add the spinach mixture, the extra-virgin olive oil, Essence, remaining teaspoon of salt, the basil, oregano, and pepper, and stir to combine thoroughly. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the spinach-ricotta filling into each cooked pasta shell. Place the filled shells in the prepared dish.
Pour the Basic Red Sauce over the filled shells and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Basic Red Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 16 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, broken into pieces, and their juices
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 4 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, basil, oregano, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and sugar and stir well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to use.
Yield: 3 cups