Today marks the first day of a semester of regular (non-culinary) college classes for me in over a year. You might recall me mentioning taking a break from culinary school while the program I’m in moves to a new, better building. I’m hoping by the end of December ’12 I’ll be able to graduate with my bachelor’s and finish my culinary degree in a fabulous new facility.
It will be strange to not be studying cooking terms, definitions, and actions. I’m just glad I have this blog to explore new things in the kitchen. Like these Shrimp-Stuffed Shells. I would have never thought to use seafood in a cheesy pasta dish like this but somehow, it works.
Taste: Whoever decided seafood and cheese shouldn’t go together was so wrong.
Texture: Al dente, saucy, creamy, cheesy, and the shrimp are perfectly cooked.
Ease: Very easy. Stuffing the shells is the most time-consuming part.
Appearance: Baked cheesy goodness.
Pros: A fun twist on a well-known dish.
Would I make this again? Yes I will.
How to make Shrimp-Stuffed Shells
Yield: 4-5 servings
20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 cups marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta shells for 7 minutes, or until almost al dente. Drain well.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add cream cheese, milk, and pepper, cook, stirring, until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in basil.
Place shrimp in a large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss to coat. Add cream cheese mixture to shrimp, toss well.
Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells. Coat a 13x9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish. Arrange stuffed shells over marinara, top with remaining 2 cups marinara. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked.
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