Dec 10, 2012


I've always had a soft creamygooeycheesy spot for stuffed pasta.  One of the first meals I wanted to learn how to make was manicotti.  Or is it cannelloni   Whatever.  As long as it's pasta filled with creamygooeycheesy something, I'm OK with whatever it's called.

And if this whatever it's called is slathered in a rich, creamy sauce...well, just slap my mouth and call me Charley.

Yeah.  I don't know where that came from either.

Then I got on this kick where ricotta wasn't good enough for me and I dumped it like that bag of garbage you all of a sudden notice is totally reeking up the place.

My lasagna is ricotta-less.  Which probably makes little old Italian grannies angry.  (If I haven't already made them angry by not knowing the difference between manicotti and cannelloni.)  As long as the big mean angry ones don't come after me, it's all good.

I make lasagna with pasta, meat sauce, plenty of garlic, and plenty of cheese.  The end.  As God intended.  (As far as I'm concerned.)

But without ricotta what do you do about stuffing pasta?

That's where this chick named Jamie comes in.  She belongs to a cooking forum I (infrequently) frequent.  Jamie passed along this idea she came up with for the most awesome stuffed shells I've ever had.  She based it on a friend's appetizer recipe.  Won tons filled with cream cheese, Italian sausage, and jalapeno.

Cream cheese.  Creamygooeycheesy cream cheese is a great base for a pasta filling.

The sauce is made with white wine, olive oil and some spices.  Not rich and creamy, but it balances the rich creamy filling in the shells perfectly.

I've been wanting to post this recipe for a while.  Because I love these shells.  A new recipe roundup prompted me to get a move on.

Over at The Law Student's Cookbook, this month starts Pantry Party.  Each month a theme will be announced.  In addition to fulfilling the theme, pantry items must be used.  Visit the Pantry Party introduction page for the specifics.  This month is "anything goes."

When I make stuffed shells, it never fails that I have a partial box left.  That partial box gets shoved back in the pantry.  Never to be seen again.  Until after I buy a new box.  When it haha nanynany boo boo appears right in front of my face.  Pantry Party was a good reason to make these shells and de-shell my pantry.

See Ya in the Gumbo potluck is HERE.

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Jamie's Stuffed Shells
(sort of)

About 2 tsp olive oil
5 links Italian sausage, casings removed
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 leek, washed, sliced lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno
about 25 large pasta shells, cooked according to package directions (save 3/4 c of the cooking water)

for the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup pasta water

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the Italian sausage   Cook, breaking up with a potato masher.  When the sausage starts to brown and crumble, add the poblano, leek, and garlic.  Saute until sausage is well browned and vegetables are tender.  Deglaze the pan with wine and continue cooking until mixture is almost dry.  Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Add cream cheese, mozzarella, and jalapeno to the sausage mixture.  There is no need to soften the cream cheese if your mixture is still warm.  Mix well.

Preheat oven to 350.

Fill the shells with the mixture. and place in a baking dish.  It will take about 22 shells.  I like to cook a few extra in case of breakage while cooking.

To make the sauce, wipe out your skillet and add olive oil, garlic, and seasonings.  Slowly heat until fragrant. Add the wine and pasta water and increase the heat.  Simmer until the sauce has reduced by about half and thickened.  Por over the shells.

Bake for 20 minutes covered.  Uncover and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Submitting to Pantry Party @ The Law Student's Cookbook

Food On Friday @ Carole's Chatter

Linking with:

The Chicken Chick
 Hearth and Soul blog hop at Premeditated Leftovers
Love Bakes Good Cakes
Nap-Time Creations
Back for Seconds
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Recipe Box
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Gallery of Favorites Thursday's Treasures @ Food Done Light
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  1. Yes! Cream cheese is my friend! :) These shells sound great!

  2. Does that ever look good. I've never had stuffed pasta of any kind. Weird, huh! I guess the Scandinavian cuisine I grew up on just didn't include it and I've never branched out that direction. Looks yummy! And you be sure to try that Stollen recipe. You won't be sorry! :-)

  3. I admit that I have not made stuffed shells without ricotta-only because I have not thought about it in a new way. Your shells have a lot of flavor. The ricotta will not be missed.


  4. Anonymous12/10/2012

    These look delicious! And this recipe is exactly why Pantry Party was completed! I too have a lot of half-used boxes of shells... haha

  5. If they have Italian sausage they got to be good. Never saw a recipe for stuffed shells this way but I love new and unusual recipes. Thank you for the recipe.

    We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.

  6. Michelle, I like every ingredient in your shells recipe. But you had me at poblano. I look forward to trying it. Have a great day!

  7. These look so good! I love anything Italian! I am so glad I found your blog. Cajun food is one of my favorites, along with Italian, that is!

    Would love it if you would drop by my blog and join Foodie Friends Friday! The party goes live at 9:00 p.m. Est.

    I am following your blog and Pinterst! Cynthia L. at Http://

  8. I'm not that crazy about ricotta either but I do LOVE cream cheese! I think these look insane. Pinning!

  9. Yum! Pinned this to try, Michelle!

  10. These sound pretty good. They are pretty similar to mine. Try ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese. I like to put an egg in with the filling to keep everything together. But great recipe!

    Garrett @TheGrowingPatch

  11. I like the poblano and jalapeno peppers you added in this recipe -- a little bit of Italian and Mexican together -- yum! Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great day and come back real soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. This is very cheesy! Yum! Thanks for sharing at Foodtastic Friday!


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