Stuffed shells have long-been one of my favorite dinners, but I typically keep it pretty traditional, with a standard sausage-ricottoa-spinach filling. However, I absolutely love seafood pastas, so the minute I saw this shrimp-stuffed shells recipe, I knew it would be a winner. What I didn't expect though, was how MUCH of a winner it would be. Caroline ate an obscene number of these, and Smith had almost as many. Henry and Tucker have entered "the picky era" of their lives, and they even ate these shells with reckless abandon. Which, as I'm sure you can imagine, means, sauce and shrimp flying all over the place and making a giant mess, as only two year olds know how.
The idea of shrimp in a baked pasta dish may seem kind of .. odd.. but the shrimp cook right in the shells, and there's no overcooked, rubbery seafood to be found. The filling is cheesy and creamy, and the rich tomato sauce is a great contrast to that. Of course, no baked pasta dish is complete without a blanket of mozzarella and parmesan, so of course we've got you covered there too.
As we hunker down for another winter storm, I am all about comfort food, and baked pasta definitely fits the bill. And as a bonus, this is actually pretty light. Four shells, which I found to be a very generous serving, is just under 500 calories, making this a really great healthy meal.
adapted from Cooking Light, January 2012
serves 5 to 6
- 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 2 Tbs minced garlic
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) reduced fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound medium shrimp; peeled, deveined, and cut into thirds
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- cooking spray
- 2-3 cups marinara sauce
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese