Unlike many people, I like leftovers – especially when the meal the night before was wonderful. I know this is going to sound strange, but my favorite meal of the year is Christmas morning – leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner! But when I have a day where time won’t allow me to cook, I RRREEEAAALLLLLLYYY appreciate leftovers.
Today is one of those days. Not only was the day busy, but I’ll be at my Bible study this evening so dinner is either leftovers, fast food, or something way too late in the day. And today is one of those lucky days where the leftovers are from a wonderful meal – stuffed shells.
Jeff and I worked together to make them and they turned out great. The filling included: ricotta cheese, spinach from our garden, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, fresh parsley, and some sauteed onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
When we make a dish that requires tomato sauce, I am so glad that Jeff roasts and cans tomatoes when they are plentiful in the garden! We sauteed onions, carrots, green peppers, zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes until they were soft, added some tomato paste, and cooked it until it had a chance to caramelize. We then whizzed it up in the food processor (allowing it to remain a bit chunky) and added it to a jar of Jeff’s roasted summer tomatoes. Finally we added some fresh oregano and parsley and the juice and zest of one lemon and allowed it to cook until all the flavors melded together. Mmm mmm mmm!
While the sauce cooked, we cooked the pasta and filled a pastry bag with the filling. Although you can fill the shells using a spoon, I find using a pastry bag to be more efficient and less messy. I put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and filled the shells, nestling them tightly in the dish. When all the shells were filled, I topped them with sauce and then some parmesan and mozzarella.
The finished product was a warm, gooey, delicious pasta treat with a summer-fresh tomato sauce. It was great the first night and I’m sure it will be even better tonight!!!!