These are jumbo shells stuffed with ground beef, carrots, onions, and spinach then topped with tomato mornay. Enjoy it with a big green salad and red wine.
I originally found this recipe in my Penzey’s Spices Fan Club group on Facebook. The original recipe calls for elk, but I don’t have elk, so I used beef instead. I had never made stuffed shells before and this post on Facebook made me have to try. The post only mentioned ingredients, no amounts, so this was all done by taste and experimentation. The original called for bechamel, but I thought tomato mornay would be better considering I was using beef and not elk.
Notes about Stuffed Shells
I made these with fresh spinach because as much as you can dry it out, frozen spinach would still be too wet. If you have leftover spinach, use it in a salad. You can get a pretty good count of how many shells you need by filling your casserole pan with as many uncooked shells as you can and consider that they will be bigger when they are cooked and will be stuffed. You can always keep any leftover unstuffed shells and put some sauce on them or use them for pasta salad.
- 1 box jumbo shells
~~ -- Stuffing -- ~~
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 2 Carrot, tops removed
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 2 teaspoon Tuscan Sunset
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 cups Fresh Spinach, not frozen
- ¼ cup Parmesan
- 1 cup Ricotta
*** Make the Stuffing ***
- Process the onion, carrot, and garlic together to be a nice chop. Put olive oil in a large saute pan and heat it to almost smoking. Add the onion carrot mixture and saute until the onion is translucent.
- Put the spinach in the food processor and running it at 3, process the spinach. Set it aside.
- When the vegetables are translucent, add the meat.
- Add the Tuscan Sunset, salt, and black pepper. Saute until the meat is completely cooked.
- Put the meat mixture in the bowl of the mixer and add the chopped spinach, parmesan, and ricotta. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Rinse out the bowl of the food processor and grate the mozzarella. Set it aside.
*** Heat the Pasta ***
- Put the shells in well-salted water to a boil and cook until the shells are al dente. Drain the pasta and let it cool enough to be able to hold it in your hand.
*** Make the Sauce ***
- Melt the ghee in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture turns white. Add the wine and whisk continuously then add milk and whisk continuously until the sauce gets thick.
- When the sauce sticks to the back of a spoon, add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Add the nutmeg, pepper, and Tuscan Sunset. Stir until all the spice is well incorporated.
*** Stuff the Shells ***
- Prep the lasagna pan by spraying it with oil and water.
- Put a shell in your hand, open it, fill the ice cream scoop with the filling, and fill the shell. Put the shell in the lasagna pan and keep filling and placing the shells until you have run out of shells or stuffing. You will probably have just enough stuffing and have shells leftover.
*** Complete the Sauce ***
- Add the parmesan and swiss cheese to the sauce on low heat. Stir until all the cheese has melted.
*** Assembly ***
- Spoon the sauce over the stuffed shells making sure that most of the shells have a little sauce on them. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top.
- Bake in a 350 F / 176 C oven for 1 hour or until the cheese is bubbling. Rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Enjoy this with a salad and a glass of red wine.