Tag Archives: ricotta

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells
IMG_0033IMG_0036
Tonight was pasta night and I was thinking stuffed shells. It eats like a less cheesy and rich lasagna. You can control your cheese, meat, spinach ratio. I have made this several times and don’t really have a recipe for it but rather make it up each time.

Italian sausage is good but sometimes a little over powering. I found a lighter version that was lighter on fat and spice. I wanted to bump up the spinach ratio while lowering the cheese mixture. Jill was held up at work so I had to cook it a little longer than I wanted. I used my biggest cast iron skillet to accommodate all the shells but by doing so I left some shells exposed. Just be careful because you will harden up the exposed noodle part. I like the chew it gives them but you may not.

Really delicious meal that lets the pasta, Italian sausage and spinach shine through with the sauce nicely tying it all together.

Ingredients
3/4 package of Jumbo pasta shells
1 package (1 lbs) of light Italian Sausage (casing removed)
1 jar of Tomato Sauce
Parsley
1 bag of spinach
4 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh cut basil
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella cheese
1 container of Ricotta
1 small onion

Directions:
1. Boil your pasta in salted water according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cool water so you can handle them as you stuff them.

2. Make your stuffing. Brown your pork sausage and remove the rendered fat. Add your onion, spinach and two cloves of minced garlic. The spinach has a lot of water so when everything is soft and wilted, remove as much of it as you can. Pour into a bowl and let it cool. IMG_0028

3. When the meat spinach mixture is warm add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and your ricotta cheese. Mix well and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly. You shouldn’t need extra salt with the sausage and parm but taste it to make certain.

4. I used the same cast iron skillet after I removed the meat mixture. I added a jar of marinara sauce. To that sauce I added 2 cloves of minced garlic and tomato paste and crushed red peppers. Brought it to a simmer and then added my basil. I turned it to low while I stuffed my shells.

5. Stuff your shells and put them into the sauce face up. I liked to add a some mozzarella or parm on the top and finish them in an oven around 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Like I mentioned above mine when a little longer because Jill was running late. IMG_0025IMG_0026
IMG_0035

6. Serve in a bowl with some sauce added.
IMG_0036

GZ’s Ricotta Gnocchi

GZ's Ricotta Gnocchi

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

GZ’s Ricotta Gnocchi
IMG_9341
On Saturday morning, I have developed a habit of watching “The Kitchen” on Food Network. This last episode they have a segment called Geoffrey’s Sunday Dinner or something like that. GZ cooked up a really simple ricotta gnocchi that seemed really good or the other hosts were good actors.

Jill has been traveling and so I thought it would be a perfect dish to make to welcome her home. For the most part I followed GZ’s recipe. My grocery was sold out of pancetta so while I could have used bacon instead, I went with prosciutto. Given it wont render out the fat that pancetta or bacon would, I added it with the garlic because it will crisp up pretty quickly. I also had a red onion on top for a salad I made earlier so I used that.

This turned out perfectly. Overall really simple but serves and appears sophisticated. The gnocchi is super soft and delicate and the simple tomato sauce is just a perfect comforting dinner. For the guys out there, this might be a good Valentines Day dinner.

The link to Geoffrey Zakarian’s recipe on FoodNetwork.
 http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/ricotta-gnocchi.html?oc=linkback
IMG_9349

Ingredients
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups AP Flour
Basil leaves to garnish

Prosciutto Tomato Sauce
1 package of prosciutto diced. GZ used pancetta
1/2 cup diced  red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
smidge of anchovy paste
One 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup of Red wine (Malbec)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Make your gnocchi by combining the ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs and 1 tsp of Kosher salt in a bowl.  Whisk until well combined and then add the all purpose flour in the thirds. First third of flour,  stir until mixed together and then the 2nd third, stir and finally the last third of flour.   Make the a ball and set the dough aside. Olive got hit with some flour
IMG_9335

2. Make your sauce by softening the red onion in a oiled pan on medium heat.  Once sweated out add your prosciutto and garlic and stir for another minute or two. Pour in your tomatoes and let that mixture simmer.
IMG_9336

3. Bring another pot of salted water to a boil while prepping your gnocchi.  Dust a counter or cutting board with a little flour. Take your dough in three batches. Roll it into a “snake” shape you used to make when you were a kid playing around with play dough.

Cut little bite sized pieces and place them on a cooking sheet lined with parchment and semolina flour or AP flour.  Once all the dough is cut, cover with a towel until you’re ready to boil them.
IMG_9327

4. Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove with a spider and add them into your sauce.  Cook and and let the gnocchi absorb some of the sauce.
IMG_9340

Serve into a bowl and top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
IMG_9345