Monday was one of those days where we got home after a long day back at work, and realized…
EVERYTHING IS FROZEN.
Oops- all of our food was in the freezer, and we hadn’t gone shopping because we’d been out of town.
Rummaging through my kitchen, I found these things, and felt like a great dinner was inevitable! I love when ingredients make me feel inspired.
Two 8 ounce tubs of marscapone cheese
1 box of large pasta shells
1/2 bag of precooked Jimmy Dean sausage crumbles, turkey sausage.
3 cups of baby spinach, chiffonade (fancy word for chopped!)
3 tbsp garlic, divided.
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (because well, 2 cheeses just didn’t seem like enough- let’s be honest!)
1 swirl around the skillet of olive oil
1 jar tomato paste
like a 3 second turn around the pan of heavy cream (Sorry- I didn’t measure)
First things first- get your water boiling for your pasta shells… this made about 20 VERY stuffed shells… we have a lot of leftovers! Always salt your water- it’s the only chance you get to flavor your pasta, and is so crucial! Once the water is boiling, toss your shells in and cook Al- dente It’ll say on the box… I think it’s about 9 minutes. They should be somewhat firm, but cooked.
Oh- and turn your oven on to 350- best to get that baby hot and ready!
While the pasta is doing it’s thing, and being all “pasta like”… let’s get your stuffed part together!
Saute up that sausage, 1 tbsp of garlic, and your spinach in that quick swirl of olive oil. A little bit goes a long way. It’ll saute quick- maybe 3 minutes. Let it cool for a minute or two afterwards, and transfer into a bowl with your marscapone cheese, shredded Parmesan, and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella- stir that deliciousness up!
You should have a few minutes to get a rockin’ cream sauce going. I start again with some garlic
(We LOVE garlic- if you don’t… don’t use as much, or skip it all together. I won’t be offended, I promise.) Start with the garlic, add in your can of tomato paste, and 1 can full of water. Stir and stir until it’s a decent consistency- It’ll be a little thick, and that’s alright… we’re adding cream in a moment. Let it simmer on low for a moment or two while you fiddle with getting your cream open. No? That’s just me…okay then. Once that moment passes, and you are feeling rather pleased with your culinary masterpiece, add a 3 second swirl around the pan of heavy cream and stir it in. Dear GOD, that looks so delightful, doesn’t it? Come make someone look at it- you just made homemade tomato cream sauce, after all! Heaven. Throw some of it in the bottom of a baking dish and kinda shimmy shake the dish so it’s coated in awesomeness.
Once your shells are Al dente, give them a nice cold water rinse, and set to stuffing them. I always find this part to be a bit of a pain in the ass, and haven’t quite figured out a way to do this that doesn’t result in a huge mess- Kevin suggested the smallest of my cookie dough scoopers, and I may try that next time. That husband of mine- sometimes he has genius ideas…so we’ll see if this pans out! (ha, pans out… kitchen pun intended!)
Stuff your shells and arrange them on your baking dish.
Top them with the rest of your tomato cream sauce…and try not to gasp at how amazing it looks.
THEN- the piece de resistance… add the other cup of your mozzarella cheese.
If you’re feeling rather fancy, you can sprinkle the top with some italian seasoning… and then, much in the words of Bobby Flay- Kick it in the oven!
Let it bake for 15 minutes, and serve it on up- your tastebuds will thank you!
(Disclaimer- I never said this was healthy…Only that it was yummy!)