Of all the things that I never fixed for meals in my nearly sixteen years as a wife, I have never stuffed cabbage and I have never stuffed pasta. I don’t know why, it guess it intimidated me because of all the things that could possibly mess up the dish. With Audley out of town for Valentine’s day, it seemed like a really good time to fix pasta since he doesn’t like it and the kids adore it!
I cooked my shells according to package directions. You don’t want them cooked too soft or you won’t be able to work with them. While the pasta is cooking you can begin making the filling for your shells.
For the filling I used:
16 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 pound of cooked shrimp (peeled & deveined)
12 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lightly beaten egg
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
After you pasta is cooked, drain the water off and let it cool a few minutes so that you can handle it without burning yourself. While it cools, mix up your marinara sauce.
For the sauce I used:
16 ounces tomato sauce
10 ounces diced tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
10 basil leaves, loosely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 pound shrimp
Mix all of the ingredients except the shrimp together.
Spread a thin layer of the marinara in a pan sprayed with olive oil. This will keep your shells from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Arrange you pasta, opened to the top in the dish.
Add filling to each shell. I put mine in a cake decorating bag without the tip, but you can used a ziplock bag and cut the corner off to aid in filling the shells.
When all of the shells are filled, take another 4 ounces of parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the pasta.
Top with the marinara sauce and arrange the remaining shrimp over the sauce.
Top with more parmesan cheese ( I used another 8 ounces) and sprinkle a little fresh basil over the top.
Bake at 400 degrees until it is nicely and bubbly (25-30 minutes), the cheese should turn golden on top.
Serve it up for a unique twist on traditional shells. We enjoyed a salad and crusty, French bread with ours. This will serve 6 nicely.
This dish makes great comfort food, but dress your table up and it makes a great company dish as well!
I am off to Auburn University for the rest of the week with Kenzie-Grace for a state honor band clinic. I am sure we will have some grand culinary adventures as our college campuses have some of the best food in the south! I can’t wait to share these with you.