My husband, Martin, arrived home after a long bike commute from work and announced he was hungry for protein and carbs. Well. That rejects the beet salad I had been making for supper! I left the beets on the stove to finish steaming and began to search through my cupboards for something that fit his needs. As much as I try to plan meals in advance, I never know what my body (or my husband's body) is going to crave. Usually, the meals I just make up as I go turn out the best. Since Martin's favorite food is macaroni and cheese, and that happens to be high in protein and carbs, I decided to let that dish inspire me.
We have a plethora of cheese at our house right now. For this recipe, I decided to choose cheese that would melt really well. The mozzarella I used was not fresh, but it was still delicious. I think fresh mozzarella might have been a little too liquidy for this dish. I also used white cheddar with ramps. I had never heard of ramps before I received this cheese from our CSA but wow! Ramps do wonders for white cheddar (and that's a good thing too I liked it since I hear it was a good season for ramps). Ramps
are similar to leeks and have a nice onion-garlicy flavor. They do have a short growing season, so fortunately, we can enjoy them for a longer period of time when they are included in cheese.
Stuffing the shells is an arduous process. But don't skip it! Martin, in his ravenous hunger, dumped the shells onto a plate and poured the sauce over them. He ended up eating spoonfulls of sauce in one bite and naked shells in another. Not fun. I stuffed my shells and the dish was fabulous! Martin ended up stuffing his shells after realizing his folly.
I admit, I have no idea what to call this recipe. It is cheesy, creamy, tomatoey goodness stuffed into jumbo pasta shells. But I just have too many adjectives and not enough nouns for this recipe title.
What would you name this recipe?
Creamy Tomato Sauce Stuffed Shells (or whatever you want to call it)
15 jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
freshly ground pepper (maybe 1/8-1/4 teaspoon)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used 3/4 cup mozzarella and 1 1/4 cup white cheddar with ramps)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the jumbo shells and cook until al dente. Do not over cook; shells need to be somewhat firm to hold the sauce. Reserve about a 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain well.
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and bask in the best aroma ever! Cook for a few minutes, then add the canned tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, and pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked away.
- Stir in the shredded cheese and heavy whipping cream. Stir well until cheese is melted. Add some of the reserved pasta water to thin sauce if you'd like.
- To serve, carefully pour about 1 tablespoon of the sauce into a pasta shell and place shell on a plate. Repeat for remaining pasta shells. Pour remaining pasta over all the stuffed shells. Garnish with dried parsley.
Labels: Cheese, Pasta, Tomato