Jan is always looking for the next gadget to assist him in making the perfect meal. I, however, am perpetually concerned about the increasing amount of small, countertop kitchen appliances we accumulate in our linen closet/overflow pantry. It’s not exactly a good combination. It’s the same battle we experience with the condiments (An abundance of condiments, May 2010), but on a larger scale, as appliances are a bigger investment, both in money and space.
I hate being a spoil-sport who always says no, but regardless of what Jan will tell you, I do compromise. I still don’t think we need a pizza oven or a Margaritaville triple Frozen Concoction Maker. But, I’ll admit that the immersion blender is definitely a keeper as is the Williams-Sonoma Vegetable Chop & Measure we’ve recently been using to make quick and easy Pico de Gallo.
We recently made stuffed pasta shells and I realized, in making this meal, we were getting dangerously close to another kitchen gadget I have been putting off — the dreaded pasta maker. After the success of the stuffed shells, Jan’s thinking big: ravioli, tortellini, and–I know it’s coming. But, as we’ve yet to try the ravioli or tortellini with prepared dough, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Stuffed pasta shells
1 23 oz. container of ricotta cheese
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 egg
- Shredded mozarella or Italian-blend cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Homemade or jar of favorite pasta sauce
- Boil the shells according to package directions, about 4-5 shells per serving
- While the pasta is cooking, wash the spinach and chop roughly
- Saute spinach in a pan with olive oil until just wilted
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, egg, parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper
- After draining pasta shells, stuff them with the cheese mixture and place in a baking dish filled about 1/4 inch high with pasta sauce
- Cover shells with the remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle with mozarella or Italian-blend cheese
- Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes, until cheese is beginning to set