Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dinner last night was a hit!

Pasta Shells Filled with Feta, Ricotta and Mushrooms
Marinara Sauce: 2 - 3 Tbls olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper 2 28-ounce cans San Marsano tomatoes, break up with juices 1 Tbl Double concentrate Tomato Paste (from tube) 1 1/2 Tbls Tony Chachere seasoning 1 bay leaf 1 1/2 tsp dried basil 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Filing: 1-2 Tbls olive oil 8 small cremini mushrooms, small diced 1 small onion, diced 1 lg clove garlic, minced Salt & Pepper to taste 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 2 15-oz containers ricotta cheese 2 8-oz ounces feta cheese blocks, small diced 1/4 cup fresh basil , chopped 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped 2 eggs 1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells shredded mozzarella cheese Preparation For sauce: Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, Tony's, Worcestershire sauce and sauté 30 seconds. Add tomatoes. Simmer until sauce is reduced to 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) For filling: In medium saute pan, heat oil to med-high and saute mushrooms, onion & garlic until onion is translucent and mushrooms are soft, do not burn garlic. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and let cool. Combine ricotta, 1 1/3 cups feta, chopped basil, parsley and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs. Add mushroom saute mixture and combine well. Cook shells in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly. Preheat oven 350°F. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over bottom of each of two 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dishes. Fill 30 shells and divide between dishes. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool and refrigerate.) Bake shells until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve with hot bread and salad. Chianti is a nice choice with this. Notes: I usually prepare this in two smaller baking dishes and freeze one for later. About the Tony's, I like a little kick of heat. Tony's has quite a bit of garlic but is mostly cayenne, a little goes a long way.

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