Last year I posted a recipe for a Grilled Rump Roast that was stuffed with a dangerously addicting spinach and shiitake mushroom mixture (click here to revisit that recipe). A balance of palate pleasing flavors and texture, the stuffing was one that I almost immediate thought would be ideal with pasta shells and sauce.
Sadly it took me nearly a year to actually create this idea and the result left me wondering why.
The recipe is simple and straight forward…make the stuffing, stuff some jumbo pasta shells, and briefly baked with your tomato sauce of choice. Bam! You’ve got the harmonious flavors of mushrooms, spinach, tomato sauce, and paste coming together for what actually is a rather healthy gluttonous dish.
Additionally, the texture of the stuffing is so smooth that those with an aversion to mushrooms or spinach will probably be begging for a seconding helping…it’s that good. And if someone does complain, then just cover the dish with Parmesan cheese. Cheese makes everything better.
- Spinach and shiitake mushroom stuffing (click here for recipe and you can substitute in crimini mushrooms as well)
- Roughly 6 oz jumbo pasta shells
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
- Roughly 35-40 oz of tomato sauce (depending on size of your baking dish)
Homemade Tomato Sauce:*
- 56 oz crushed or diced canned tomatoes
- 6 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 4 tsp of basil
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
*Makes around ten more ounces than require for the stuffed shells
- If you’re making the tomato sauce, then heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Toss that garlic in there and get the party started.
- Stirring regularly, allow the garlic to cook for a few minutes until their sweet smell is waffling through the air.
- Dump in the canned tomatoes, along with the basil and bring to a bubbling boil. Reduce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste and you’ve got yourself some homemade sauce.
- While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Toss in the jumbo shells and cook for roughly 6-7 minutes removing immediately from the water (you ideally want the shells to be around 3/4 of the way cooked).
- Time to get stuffing…i.e. stuff each shell with a healthy amount of the spinach/mushroom mixture and place each shell in a baking dish with a small amount of sauce at the bottom (unlike above). Cover the the shells with a copious amount of tomato sauce and bake for around 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
- When the sauce starts to bubble, top the dish with desired amount of Parmesan cheese and place under the boiler for a few minutes to char up the top.
- Remove from the oven and allow the dish to set for a few minutes.
- Plate and garnish with fresh parsley and extra parm.
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