Posts Tagged ‘Freezer’

Dina.  One of my dearest, oldest friends.  (Not in age, just duration.)  I could wax poetic about her loyalty and sincerity and how our friendship has evolved and deepened since middle school, but I won’t because Dina’s probably reading and thinking, “Oh no! It’s about me!  Good thing no one I know reads this blog, too!”  Just kidding, D.

Dina’s been a vegetarian for the past several years.  I think it had something to do with a few weeks backpacking through Europe and a few too many pounds of sausage ending up in her belly.  I know, D, too much information.   Sorry.

Recently, Dina and her boyfriend came to dinner.  I struggled with what to cook, I’ll be honest.  We always have a side of vegetables, but they do not take center stage.  I settled on classic stuffed shells, with a few extra handfuls of leftover garden vegetables (swiss chard and shredded zucchini).  I think we did pretty well.  If not, the fresh cannolis and four slices of pie Dina brought over sure ended the meal on a good note.

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

12-ounce box of jumbo shells
15 ounces (1 1/2 cups) ricotta cheese or part skim ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella diced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup shredded Asiago
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained or a mix of spinach and prepared, artichokes, chopped
3 cup tomato sauce of your choice
Optional: 1 pound cooked sausage, shredded roasted chicken, shrimp, crab, or other protein

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt water and add pasta.  Cook shells 12 to 15 minutes, they should be softened but still undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool.
  3. Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the diced mozzarella, a couple of handfuls of Parmigiano and 1/2 the Asiago.  Add parsley and spinach to the cheeses and stir to combine.
  4. Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a shallow medium sized casserole dish. 
  5. Fill shells with rounded spoonfuls of mixture and arrange them in casserole dish.  Top shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and Asiago cheeses. 
  6. Heat for 20-30 minutes, until bubbling. 

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