Monday, December 6, 2010

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

What a weekend!
It was a Guard weekend for Christopher, again. Grumble. Eclipse came out on DVD so I had to go out with my sister at midnight for that purchase. I just had to. Abby had a friend over and I finished decorating the house for Christmas, I think. Then Sunday Christopher surprised us by coming home early and taking us out for our tree. Yippee. And oh boy, what a sheltered life I lead when it comes to tree buying. Normally we go out the road to this little old man's home where we buy an 8' tree for $20. We've been going to him for years. This year he wasn't selling trees so we had to go out in search of a new tree place. Our first was at another home with a sign selling trees for $15. Not one tree was over 6' high so we had to continue our search. Our next stop was at a tree farm where we found the most beautiful and perfect 8' tree. This beauty could be ours for a mere $63. What! Is this the going rate for trees? I felt it was an insane price. I must not get out of the house much. Christopher was willing to buy it for me. He is most certainly crazy. Unless this tree had some magically house cleaning powers or we were planning on eating it I refused to pay that much. Ridiculous. Eventually we found a tree that was the right size and not totally insane price. Photos to come once I finish the popcorn string.
Needless to say come Monday morning our home was a messy empty Christmas box disaster area. Laundry was over flowing, there were dishes in the sink and pine needles to vacuum. Quick meal to the rescue. The first thing I did was prep dinner and clean up the kitchen. I love meals that you can throw together in the morning. By the evening everything was back in it's proper place and the family was fed. I got to relax on the couch with Christopher and watch a movie. Bliss.
Recipe from The Pioneer Women.
1 package (8 oz) jumbo pasta shells
1 container (30 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
8 oz Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
1/2 cups Romano cheese, grated
1 egg
12 basil leaves
2 tbsp parsley minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lbs Italian sausage
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp minced parsley
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 and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.
In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons 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 F for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

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