Stuffed Shells is one of those Sunday dinner kind of recipe that makes everyone happy. Add cheese, vegetables or meat and sauce, you will have delicious meal in minutes. Stuffed Shells also make great one pot meal when you’re in a hurry.
If you do not enjoy eating stuffed shells with a lot of tomato sauce and cheese, this recipe is for you. If you do like a lot of tomato sauce and lots of cheese, then this recipe is not for you. Or if you want to try, please feel free to give it a try.
The beauty about pasta noodles is that you can practically feed a lot of people. I find pasta noodles one do the easiest ingredient to cook. Pasta noodles are versatile and cook very quickly. You don’t
Pasta and leftover meat or poultry are perfect for each other. For example, leftover roasted chicken and pasta create a complete meal. If you add spinach or mushroom, you have a complete healthy meal. It is almost as if you were making sure that you touch all the food groups in the food pyramid.
Leftovers don’t have to be meat or poultry. We cannot ignore vegetables and seafood. The addition of peas, kale, arugula are great options for vegetarians. Shrimp, oysters, and langoustines make delightful meals.
The simplicity with pasta
The recipe is simple. I feel like I say the word “simple” a lot when sharing my recipes. It is not intentional, it is simply the best way that I can explain explain how easy it is to create a meal with very few ingredients.
First you choose your prefered pasta noodles. The best way to cook pasta is to follow the directions on the packaging. You can follow any of the recipes if any are listed as well. But the only step you will need to follow is how to boil the noodles.
Once you know how to boil the noodles the rest is easy. If you just add herbs and spices, and a good olive oil, the taste may surprise. It all comes down to the type of herbs and spices you add of course.
Basil, parsley, onion or shallots, fresh garlic, ground black pepper are all you need to create a simple and easy pasta recipe. If you want to be innovative, add other ingredients. Start experimenting with different condiments and spices.
Let’s talk recipe
For this recipe, I chose to cook uncured and organic ham sliced in cubes, with sweet peppers and leek in a mixture of Noubess Hot and Spicy Mango Sauce with olive oil. All the ingredients are simmered under low heat.
Once the meat mixture is completely cooked, it is then stuffed into the pasta shells with fresh mozzarella cheese. Everything then cooked in marinara sauce. I did not use a lot of marinara sauce because I don’t like my stuffed shells pasta drenched in tomato sauce.
You can choose either to use leftover meat, onion or shallots to replace the leek. You can also choose to use any store brand marinara sauce you prefer. Don’t worry if you can find marinara sauce, you can also use a tomato and basil base sauce, or any other herb tomato sauce. The key is choosing the right brand and the right ingredients to create a scrumptious meal.
- 16 jumbo pasta shells, cook a few extra shells in case some break while the pasta cooks or while you are removing them from the boiling water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh garlic finely chopped
- 2 cups leftover meat, sliced, shredded or diced (ham, poultry or beef)
- 3/4 cup sweet pepper diced
- 1 large leek cleaned and sliced thin (white and light green part only)
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded or cut very small (alternatively use store-bought shredded mozzarella cheese)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated, plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh basil finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt optional
- 1/2 tsp Noubess Hot and Spicy Mango Sauce
- 2 – 3 cups marinara sauce, tomato sauce or tomato and basil sauce, whatever sauce you prefer
- In a medium-sized saute pan, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, Noubess Hot and Spicy Mango Sauce, ham or any leftover meat you have and let cook for about 3 minutes or until the meat start to turn golden brown. Add peppers, leek, parsley basil, and continue to cook under low heat while occasionally stirring until the vegetables are wilted and cooked. Set aside to cool
- In a medium saucepan, add tomato sauce and Noubess Hot and Spicy Mango Sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Let cook on medium heat or 3 minutes and turn off the heat. Set aside.
- Prepare the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking dish that can hold 16 shells (8-inch by 8-inch or 7-inch by 11-inch works well). Make sure the bottom of the pan is well covered with the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta al dente, about 9 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain pasta and place shells on a sheet pan and set aside.
- Mix the meat mixture with the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and with a spoon place a generous amount of the mixture into each pasta shell and place in the baking dish. Drizzle some of the tomato sauce on the shells and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Cover the shells with aluminum foil and bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the sauce begins the bubble, about 5 – 7 minutes. Serve warm with your choice of salad and additional tomato/marinara sauce.