Sunday nights were made for carbs. Comfort food to prep the soul for the week ahead. Whether it is Roast Chicken and potatoes or tonight’s menu of Ricotta Stuffed Shells, Sunday dinner is a ritual I look forward to each week. The day prior, I had been extra productive and went to the store to buy the ingredients for this weeks recipes. Browsing through all my cookbooks, the special Sunday night recipe always stands out. I could imagine the oven warming the home on the cool evening, a glass of wine being poured as the soft glow of candles lit the kitchen. My vision came true tonight and the recipe did not disappoint.
I have never made stuffed shells which seems strange because of my undying love for all things pasta – but I never had! I don’t honestly think I have ever really ordered them either. I always go for the classic fettuccine or eggplant parmesan. Making the mixture was the easiest part and the entire time I thought, “Seriously, why have I never made this?”
For the filling:
Large Pasta Shells
Fresh cut Basil (half for mixture, half for later)
Mix together and there it is. I cut the recipe in half since my friend Cate could no longer come by for dinner with her daughter Rossi (though I managed a stop to visit her with some soup!), and so the portions went from 6 to 2. I “measured” as best I could but to be honest, I used my eye to measure and it all turned out ok. If you are doing the same, go from 3 eggs to 1 egg and the rest will be easy to determine. The pasta sauce went that way as well. Making it from scratch isn’t terribly hard but it can take time. Reducing it down for enough for two people cut that time in half and it still tasted out-of-this-world. But, of course it did because this one is from Jacque Pepin’s Cookbook. If you want to use a can of your favorite tomato sauce; go for it! That will cut down on the work and the time.
Cooking the pasta until al dente, drain them and rinse cold water over the shells to stop the cooking – set aside. Once cool, take each shell and fill with the Ricotta filling. Place them in a row, not on top of each other, in a baking dish. Sprinkle salt, pepper on top and then pour your tomato sauce on the shells. Bake at 400 degrees for twenty-minutes. Take the last of the basil and sprinkle on top for that sweet basil deliciousness nobody can resist. I recommend serving this with a glass of wine, your favorite will do, curled up on the sofa with your favorite show on t.v. Pretty perfect if you ask me.