Monday, February 20, 2012

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Our Valentine's Day dinner was a great success! For our main dish we made these delicious stuffed shells with a homemade meaty tomato sauce, yum-yum! The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman so you know it's going to be great!

I love cooking with red wine. I love the way it smells and the way it tastes... it just adds such a depth of flavor. Plus you get to feel sophisticated, even if you're using a $5 bottle of wine! I will definitely be making this sauce recipe again for other pasta dishes. I was thinking that it would be good to put into mason jars and give to some of my friends and family who like to cook, it's so versatile!

I used this technique to stuff the shells and it made it so much easier! I was done in no time. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this. Also we learned what "chiffonade" meant and how do it. Thanks Wikipedia!

Our appetizer was margherita flatbread. They were good, but we don't think we've quite perfected  the recipe yet. I'll wait to share that when we have! But it looked pretty, so here's a pic.

After dinner we built our fort. It had the 3 C's of a perfect fort: Comfy, Cozy, and Cool. Baha, I just made that up, but it works! I do think this is the best fort we've built yet! And I remembered how much I love the movie Away We Go. If you haven't seen it yet go watch it!

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

  • Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces jumbo pasta shells
  • 30 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces parmesan cheese, grated, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 12 leaves basil, chiffonade
  • 2 Tbs minced parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.

Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar, salt and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and parsley. Stir until combined.

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Adapted from:

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