Monday, February 18, 2013

Cheesy Shell-Stuffed Shells

Happy President's Day! I hope those of you with a three-day weekend enjoyed the extra day off! To celebrate the long weekend, KK and I went on a brunch double date at Diablo Royale on Sunday.  The food was delicious and the drinks were, for better or worse, free flowing.  After brunch, we ended up at Barrow Street Ale House.  A round of Cafe Patron shots later, Ben promised to provide some guests posts for the blog.  Hopefully he lives up to his promise!  Since we were out all day and starving by the time we got home, I chose Tofu Pad Thai for a quick and easy dinner.

After a lazy morning and a productive afternoon of errands (and a new tablet!), KK decided I should try a recipe that was a bit more time consuming this evening.  Although it wasn't difficult to prepare, there was a lot of prep time (cooking two pastas!) and baking time (covered and uncovered!). 

It was delicious. Heavy, filling, probably not the most healthy, but delicious.  My picture doesn't do it justice, so definitely check out Noble Pig's post, too!

A few small changes: instead of using tiny shells, I used medium shells because I didn't have enough small ones in the pantry.  The concept of shell-stuffed shells still came though, but next time I'd try to use the small shells.  Finally, instead of using Gruyere cheese, I used Swiss cheese for a cheaper alternative.

Cheesy Shell-Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Noble Pig
Serves 4-6
Time: 1 hr 40 minutes

24 dried jumbo shell macaroni
8 oz. dried tiny shell macaroni
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup light cream
1/8 teaspoon white pepper or pepper
1 24 oz. jar vodka sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Basil leaves & crushed red pepper for garnish

1. Cook jumbo shells according to package directions. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer shells to a colander. Rinse with cold water; drain well and set aside. In same pan cook tiny shells according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine Gruyere cheese, cheddar cheese, light cream and pepper. Heat over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Stir in tiny shells.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. 

4. Lightly cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with pasta sauce. Spoon cheese-shell mixture into drained jumbo shells; place stuffed shells in prepared baking dish. Top with remaining pasta sauce.

5. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil leaves and crushed red pepper.

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