My daughter, her boyfriend, and the doggies came over for dinner the other night, so I cooked an old family recipe, Stuffed Shells. I don't usually cook food as rich as this, but I hadn't made it for years. The wife gave me the hint that it was time to make it again when she came home with the pasta shells, so I figured...what the hell...have it once in a while and it won't kill ya'. There's a lot of ingredients, but it's really pretty simple to make.
Badabing's Stuffed Shells
1 1/2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/4 lbs ricotta cheese
6-8 oz. mozzarella cheese
1 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 box jumbo shells, usually 12 oz.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil 6-8 quarts of water. Add salt if desired.
Heat the oil on medium heat in a saucepan. Add onions, garlic, and bay leaf. Saute until onions & garlic are soft.
Crush the tomatoes, if necessary. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano. Simmer slowly on low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes to an hour. You may need to add some water if sauce gets too thick.
Use the best tomatoes you can find...they don't have to be imported. I use Muir Glen organically grown tomatoes.
Please, please, please...don't use pre-made, pre-jarred sauce...or my grandmother will rise from the dead and smack your lazy ass with the back of her wooden spoon.
By the way, this is actually a good general-purpose recipe for tomato sauce that one can use with many different pasta dishes.
Add the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and parsley to a large bowl and mix until all ingredients are blended together.
Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly.
Cook the pasta for 12 minutes, or follow the instructions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Stuff The Shells
Stuff the shells with the filling.
Arrange & Bake
Oil a baking dish large enough to hold the shells in one or two layers.
Spread some of the sauce in the dish.
Add a layer of shells & cover with sauce. Repeat as required. Sprinkle some more grated parmesan over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 30 minutes. Bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
Serve with a simple green salad, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a nice red wine. We had a bottle of Valiano Chianti Classico 2003 with this dish. Mangiare and enjoy.