Friday, 1 February 2013
I was surfing the net the other day and I came across this delicious sounding casserole on the Better Homes and Gardens site. Cheesy Shell Stuffed Shells. Oh my goodness . . . can you imagine??? Be still my pasta-lovin heart!
Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with macaroni and cheese made with baby pasta shells, cloaked in your favourite tomato pasta sauce and baked, then smothered with more cheese and baked again until the whole thing is all gooey and deliciously scrummy!
I know! G-E-N-I-U-S!! Macaroni and cheese just got better! Macaroni and cheese combined with lasagne! Oh, mama mia! This is a real winner winner chicken dinner if I don't say so myself.
Of course I charged it up a bit from the original recipe, using a combination of different cheeses . . . strong cheddar, rich Stilton, salty Parmesan . . . totally delicious.
I used low fat evaporated milk instead of the cream . . . just to save a few calories . . . and it was plenty good if I don't say so myself . . . but by all means, if calories aren't too worrisome for you use the cream.
The Toddster . . . well, he is not fond of pasta as you know . . . and pasta stuffed with pasta? Well . . . not much more fonder . . . but meh . . . sometimes a gal has got to do what her pasta loving heart's got to do!
*Cheesy Shell-Stuffed Shells*
Genius! Borrowed from Better Homes and Gardens and adapted for my own use. Easy, economical and delicious!
24 dried Conchiglioni Rigati Shells (jumbo shell macaroni)
8 ounces Conchigliette shells (very tiny baby shell macaroni, 2 cups)
4 ounces Gruyere Cheese, grated (1 cup)
2 ounces Stilton Cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
2 ounces Parmesan Cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
8 ounces strong cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
6 fluid ounces of single cream (3/4 cup, you may use an equal amount of
low fat evaporated milk if you wish)
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
24 fluid ounces of your favourite tomato pasta sauce (3 cups, or 750ml)
2 ounces grated mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup)
1 ounce grated strong cheddar cheese (1/4 cup)
1 ounce of grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish. Set aside.
Cook the large shells according to the package directions, in a large pot of lightly salted water. Scoop out with a slotted spoon when done, rinse and drain. Set aside. Add the mini shells to the boiling water in the pot and cook them according to the package directions. Drain well and rinse. Return the pot to the stove. Add the cream and all of the grated cheeses, except for the topping cheeses. Season with black pepper. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the cooked small shells.
Cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish with 125ml of the pasta sauce. Fill the jumbo shells with the cheese-shell mixture. Place the filled shells in the baking dish. Top with the remaining pasta sauce. Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover and sprinkle with the topping cheeses (mixed together), and return to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes longer. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.