Unstuffed Shells

This was inspired by Half Baked Harvest, and she used an additional lemon basil oil drizzle which I left out.  It was delicious without this, perhaps next time I will give that a try, looking to incorporate some pumpkin puree into this dish for the next go around.  It IS much easier than stuffing shells, but I don't have any preference either way, stuffing only takes about 5 more minutes.  It's definitely a keeper recipe, and look how pretty it turned out.  I am definitely all about the pretty, without all the fuss of food styling.

UNSTUFFED SHELLS

Servings: 6

Prep time: 20

Cook time: 20

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage - I used sliced, it's what I had
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, whipped in the food processor, if desired
  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells or figure 3 shells per person
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes crushed
  • 2 cups chopped greens, such as kale, spinach, or chard
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or 1 tbs fresh oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves (or 1 tbs fresh thyme)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • Optional:  1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Bring a big pot of water to boil, and cook the shells according to the package directions, drain, set aside and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 
  2. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, add the sausage and break it up as it cooks, about 5 minutes or so.  Add the shallots and continue cooing for another 5 minutes.  Season the mixture at this point with the oregano and thyme, salt and pepper. 
  3. Add the tomato paste, using the back of a spoon, smear it along the bottom of the pan to semi mix with the sausage mixture.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the crushed tomatoes.  Judge what your liquid level is and if too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water. 
  4. Add the greens, stir, add a lid to the pan and lower the heat to low, simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the shells to the tomato mixture and some of the basil. 
  6. In the meantime, whip that ricotta in a food processor until smooth and creamy, when ready to serve, smear the ricotta onto the bottom of the bowl, add your desired amount of shells.  Garnish with additional basil.

https://www.tinkskitchen.com/2021/04/unstuffed-shells.html

Italian, Stuffed Shells, Unstuffed Shells, Whipped Ricotta, Garden Tomatoes, Basil

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