Rindy Mae: Stuffed Shells With Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Pesto Cream Sauce

The last time I was at the grocery store, I bought big pasta shells on an impulse.  I know, for some people it's  cookies and candy bars.  For me, it's noodles, cheese, and bread.  I get giddy at the day old bread rack.  Seriously.

Anyhoo, I didn't really have a plan, but I bought a tub of ricotta and figured I'd make it up as I went.  I had the oven-roasted tomatoes in the freezer from the summer.  I froze them flat, in a ziplock bag, so all I need to do is break off as much as I need.  The pesto cream sauce was born when I made this recipe and I've been a super fan ever since, although this time, I left the cheese out of the sauce.  I figured there was enough in the filling to get my cheesy fix.  I also had the pesto in the freezer, but store-bought works.


This dinner did not suck even a little bit.


Here's what I used:


Stuffed Shells With Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Pesto Cream Sauce


1 box large pasta shells

1 C shredded Parmesan cheese


Cook shells according to directions on box.  Drain and lay out on wax paper to prevent them from sticking.


Filling:


32-ounce container of ricotta

2 C shredded mozzarella

1 egg

3 cloves minced garlic

1 C oven-roasted tomatoes, chopped (you could substitute fresh tomatoes or even canned tomatoes)

Salt and pepper


Combine everything together in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.  You could also add in some fresh chopped parsley or basil, I just didn't have any.


Sauce:


1/4 butter

1/4 C flour

3 cloves minced garlic

4 C milk

1/2 C pesto 

Salt and pepper


Melt butter over medium heat.  Saute garlic until fragrant. Stir in flour and cook five minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and cook until bubbles start to form.  Cook, stirring, another minute.  Stir in pesto.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  


Add enough sauce to cover bottom of large baking dish.


Fill noodles with ricotta mix and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon some sauce over the noodles. Continue filling remaining shells and place on top of first layer.  Cover with remaining sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.


Bake, covered, at 350 for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.  



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