Saturday, January 14, 2012

Broccoli & sausage stuffed shells

Sometimes, I don't want to make lasagna because I don't feel like eating lasagna for, you know 9 meals. While it does freeze very well for a quick, take-to-work lunch option, I'm just not feeling like eating it so often! Or I make lasagna and have just a little bit of ricotta left over. What does one do with just a little bit of ricotta? (I recently tried a ricotta pasta sauce that was a icky, so not that...)

Enter suggestion from my friend Kim: stuffed shells. Alright, so this isn't so different from lasagna but it does scale a little better and it's at least arranged a little differently! I made a tad much this first time so I've scaled it down for you below.

Broccoli & Sausage stuffed shells
1/2 head broccoli, (or about 1 cup chopped)
1 Italian sweet or spicy sausage, cooked (I used turkey sausage and boiled it in advance while I was making breakfast one Sunday)
1 cup of ricotta
15-20 Jumbo pasta shells (or you could use manicotti)
1 small jar of marinara sauce (or half a large jar that might be left over)
1/4 tb of pepper
1/2 tb of garlic salt
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

cooking equipment: small food processor (you might be able to get away with using a blender)

Broccoli, sausage and ricotta mixture
Cook pasta shells according to package directions, rinse and allow to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I used my new toaster oven!). Grease 11 x 7 in baking pan and spoon small amount of marinara sauce in the bottom, just enough to coat the entire bottom. Place broccoli and sausage in food processor and chop until almost a paste (you can also do them individually). Mix broccoli and sausage with ricotta and using a spatuala or spoon fill each shell and place in pan. Filled shells can touch each other but should not be layered on top of each other. Cover with remaining marinara sauce and bake for 20 minutes. After removing from the oven, top with cheese and serve.
2-3 servings

Note: if you double the recipe you can use a 9 1/2 x 13 in pan

Before going in the oven, you might want to put on a little more sauce than this.
These were pretty good. As I said, my friend Kim makes this with broccoli, I added the sausage (Kim doesn't eat much meat).