THE EVERYTHING PASTA
I recently received a lovely bottle of white wine from a friend on mine and although I am not a huge wine drinker, I really enjoy cooking with it. I am also a lover of pasta although I try and watch my pasta intake. It is a treat. A hearty pasta sauce and these cute, large pasta shells are a favourite combination. Pasta is amazing because it actually gets better the following day as it has time to absorb the flavours. These shells make portion size and serving simple too.
Have the pasta shells cooked so they have a chance to cool down for better handling as you prepare the sauce. When boiling the shells, it is a good idea to boil the water with a pinch of sea salt and olive oil to prevent sticking. You will also need to stir every few minutes to prevent the shells from sticking. If they stick they will likely rip and you want them whole for stuffing.
I decided to summon my inner Spaniard and thought about all the goodness that could be combined with wine to make this dish for dinner. A bottle of white paired with the standard onion, parsley and garlic mixture was as good a start as any. You have probably heard of the standard categories of sauces for pasta: white, red, clear, rose. I love them all and so I used them all. I even used basil infused olive oil for an extra Mediterranean twist and also to take the place of pesto. Why place limits on cooking?
This recipe used a variation of all the types of sauces plus some other classics: spicy chorizo, ricotta, and a bit of cream. The first step was to add the crushed tomatoes to my onion mixture. Once cooked down, the white wine was added. Finally, the cream finished off the sauce. I cooked the sauce in stages of about 10 minutes each step to meld the flavours before adding a new ingredient but also to create a thick, hearty sauce perfect for stuffing the shells. If you are not a fan of chorizo, try pancetta, bacon or if you aren’t feeling too adventurous, ground beef will work too. If this is too much variety of sauces for your taste, you can skip any part of the sauce addition.
Once the sauce was complete I added spicy chorizo, cut into small pieces. I sautéed it in a bit of olive oil so that the spice and paprika from the sausage released into the oil. This took 3-4 minutes on medium/high heat.
The final step was to combine all the flavours.
This sauce takes a while but I guarantee it is worth it.
Finally, I stuffed the cooled sauce mixture into the pasta shells and arranged them in a dish. Be sure to put a bit of the sauce on the bottom of the dish to ensure the shells don’t stick. You will end up with what looks like a lasagna but much tastier, in my opinion. Each person gets a cute little shell’s worth of pasta (or 2 or 3).
Stuffed Pasta Shells
24 medium pasta shells
2 spicy chorizo (approx. 308 g)
1 C white wine
1 medium onion (sautéed in 1 Tbsp olive oil (I use basil infused) and 1 Tbsp butter)
1/2 chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves
1/3 C cream
salt/pepper to taste
1-398 mL can diced tomatoes
500 g ricotta
1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil for sautéing
1. Boil the pasta shells in salted water with a splash of oil on a low simmer for about 20 minutes.
2. Strain pasta shells and let cool while you prepare the sauce.
3. Sauté the onion, parsley and garlic in the olive oil and butter mixture until onions are clear.
4. Add can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add white wine and cook down for approx. 10 minutes.
6. Stir in cream and remove sauce from pan.
7. In the same pan, add a tsp of olive oil to sauté the chorizo.
8. Add the chorizo to the tomato sauce mixture.
9. Stir in ricotta cheese.
10. In a large dish, place some sauce along the bottom before adding the shells.
11. Stuff shells and arrange them snuggly in the dish.
12. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes covered.
13. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until hot.
Baking time may be longer if pasta shells are prepared the day before as they will need longer to heat up.
Protein 7.8 g