These recipes for stuffed shells are relatively easy.  I made casseroles for my two best friends. One had just returned with her husband from their first airplane trip with their 4 month old son and one was spending the day hiking — both needed something easy for supper.  To make all three recipes I used one large box of large pasta shells and one 2-lb container of part skim ricotta. 

Savory Stuffed Shells ~ Two Versions

The first stuffed shells are made with italian sausage.

Ingredients:

pasta shells (1/4 box), cooked according to directions

ricotta (2 cups)

1 egg, beaten

1 cup shredded parmesan

tuscan seasoning  (I don’t know how it’s different from basic italian, but that’s what I had handy)

1 pound sweet italian sausage

olive oil (1 tbs for the pasta, 1 tbs to brown the meat)

Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

1 1/2 cups of shredded mozarella

How I made them:

Brown the sausage in 1 tbs of olive oil while the pasta boils.  Add the spaghetti sauce when the meat is browned (I didn’t have a lot of extra oil in the pan, but if you do go ahead and drain it off first).   Let simmer while you prepare the shells.

Mix the egg, ricotta, parmesan and seasoning together (be sure it’s blended well).  Fill 10-12 shells full or even a bit too full. 

Prepare a baking dish (spray with non stick spray if you need to).  Place a single layer of stuffed shells in the bottom of the pan.  Spoon the spaghetti sauce over the shells.  You don’t want them swimming in sauce, but you want plenty of sauce in which for the shells to bake.  Sprinkle the shredded mozarella over the top.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.

The second version is vegetarian.  It follows the exact same recipe except that instead of meat sauce I made a sauce with two cans fire roasted tomatoes and one can of diced no-salt added tomatoes. 

Sweet Stuffed Shells ~ Honey Peach

This recipe was a “cooking challenge” from my hiker friend.  He asked if I could make sweet shells with peaches.  I figured I could give it a try.  I took inspiration from the honey gorgonzola bruschetta my traveler friend makes.  This is the result.

Peach and Honey Shells

Ingredients:

1/2 box pasta shells, cooked according to directions

1 cup part skim ricotta

2 peaches, very firm (not quite ripe)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup sugar

vanilla

honey

gorgonzola crumbles

How I made them:

Peel and dice one of the peaches.  Toss the chopped peaches with the sugar and 1-2 tbs of vanilla.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes but not too much longer.  Slice the second peach (thin but not too thin).  Spray the baking dish with baking spray (the kind with flour). 

Mix the now juicy chopped peaches with the ricotta and walnuts to make the filling.

Fill the shells, full but not too full, with the sweet filling.  Place in the baking dish with a slice of peach in between each shell.  Sprinkle liberally with gorgonzola crumbles and then drizzle with honey.

Bake at 300 degrees (or put them in the turned-off oven after you bake the savory shells) until they are warm and gooey.

The results:

Since I made these as bake-at-home casseroles, I didn’t actually taste them.  The reports were that the sweet shells were yummy.  She did wonder if the peaches were nectarines — and honestly, maybe they were.  Though, they would have been large nectarines.  Nevertheless, these Kate Creations were a hit.  (The picture doesn’t do them justice.)

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