I can't wait to eat these for left overs tomorrow!!
I also made today my Butternut Squash and Sage Soup: http://www.feedingthefords.blogspot.com/2012/10/butternut-squash-and-sage-soup.html . The aroma that fills the house when this soup is cooking is irresistible. The smell of fresh sage makes me so happy!!
After working a 16 hour shift yesterday, not sleeping last night b/c of work, a huge snow storm, sleeping probably a total of an hour, I was so excited to get up and do my favorite thing....just cook!!
I made the sauce at like 1 p.m., cooked the pasta, made the ricotta and stuffed them. Let the sauce simmer till five or so, covered the shells and baked 'em. Nice easy make ahead meal even if its for the day before. This recipe makes 54 stuffed shells with some plain ones left over to snack on while you cook.
This made two large casserole dishes, enough for eight of us (four adults and four kids) to eat dinner and their is another whole casserole dish left. We have the in laws watching the kids tomorrow so they will be able to just reheat it and let them have a nice home cooked meal while they are watching our lil cherubs.
Sorry forgot to take a picture so no photo's today!!
Florentine Stuffed Shells
- 2 large cans of Red Pack crushed tomatoes
- 2 large cans of Red Pack pureed tomatoes
- Water (I just swirl some water around the crushed tomato cans to rinse 'em and use that water)
- 2 small cans of tomato paste
- 1 minced white onion
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 lbs ( I can't remember how much meat may have been a little more) of ground meat of some sort, I really wanted to do ground sausage however our Market Basket NEVER has ground sausage so we used ground beef b/c we had some left over from our popular and much requested Cheese Burger Wraps we made Sunday night http://www.feedingthefords.blogspot.com/2012/10/cheeseburger-wraps.html
- 1 cup (I didn't measure may have used slightly more) of red wine (I just happened to have some Cab sitting near buy the stove)
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- dried salt and pepper (sorry never measure these)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- dried basil I probably used 2 tbsp
- dried oregano 1 1/2 tbsp probably. Again I don't measure spices unless its the first time making a recipe
- Heat oil in a ceramic dutch oven or large stock pot or whatever you normally make spaghetti in. Once hot add onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes just until they start to soften. You do not want the pan to hot b/c you don't want to burn the garlic. You don't want them browned just start to soften.
- Add the ground beef and brown. Drain all grease. Keep heat on about med high and add the two cans of tomato paste. Let it start to get sticky and stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Use red wine to deglaze pan, use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan and get all those yummy cooked flavors off the bottom. Let simmer on this heat for about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, water, spices, and sugar.
- Let sauce simmer for at least two hours on med to low stirring from time to time. The longer the yummo sauce simmers the better.
- 2 boxes of large stuffing shells cooked according to package directions and rinsed in cold water so they don't stick together and you halt the cooking process.
- 1 and a 1/4 large containers of part skim ricotta
- 2 large bags of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and water rung out
- 3 cups of shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- bunch of garlic powder and pepper
- salt and pepper
- some onion powder
- dried oregano, parsley, and basil
- some extra fresh parm maybe two more cups or so for sprinkling
- some extra shredded mozzarella (buy one bag it'll be enough for all your needs)
- Mix together with your hands all ingredients except large shells, extra parm, and extra mozzarella. Let sit for a few to make sure flavors meld together.
- Spoon a thin layer of sauce onto bottom of casserole dish.
- Fill each shell with a spoon full of ricotta mixture, do not over stuff make sure the shell will just about close. Place seam side up nice and snuggled up next to each other in the casserole dish.
- When you are ready to cook them preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until bubbly and hot.
- Sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top and then a thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Bake this until mozzarella begins to bubble then throw the broiler on till just starts to brown. Watch it at this step you don't want to go this far and burn the dickens out of it!! Enjoy with some nice warm italian bread.