Guest Post by Sunshine & Smile: Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Friends, as promised, you won't miss the action on my blog, while I'm on vacation. Yes while I rejuvenate myself with a much needed break, my friends will take charge of the blog. So starting this series of guest posts with a dear friend of mine - Kanakana, from Sunshine & Smile.

She is one of the first people I became friends with during blogging. Though we created our blogs around the same time, yet while I mercilessly left it when I relocated from Dubai-India-Bahrain, she mastered the art. And when I was back in May, she was again the first person I got back in touch and discovered how well she was using her passion for food in creating some great combinations.
Her effervescent personality and love for life is seamlessly translated through her blog, her images and her friendly comments on others' blogs. Welcome Kankana of Sunshine & Smile, as she shares recipe of everyone's favourite - pasta, but with some of her own flair.

Anamika and I started blogging almost at the same time and her recipes caught my attention right from the beginning. Her recipe talk of different parts of the world and her photos make the food talk to you. Today, I made this pasta dish especially for her. Turns out we both enjoy pasta a lot :)

Thank you Anamika for sharing your space with me. I feel so honored to be here and share something that you and your family can enjoy.

It's been a while since I last posted a pasta dish. No, I didn't stop eating pasta, like that's even possible with my taste bud. Believe me when I tell you that I will never get bored of pasta!

There was a time when I liked my pasta covered with cheese.. lots of cheese. These days, I prefer lighter version of pasta. I like to toss it with some lemon sauce, spinach sauce or light pesto sauce and our lunch gets ready in couple of minutes. That is the kind of pasta we are eating these days.

Jumbo Pasta was fun to cook.. you can stuff it with any thing you like, from meat to mushroom to veggies. The pasta shells are pretty delicate and you have to show a lot of love while working with them. Don't over-boil the pasta, I would say 8 minutes is good enough, and definitely use a big pot to boil so that you do not overcrowd them. It's extremely important to let the shells cool completely before you start stuffing them.

Anamika asked for something vegetarian and she also mentioned that she likes mushroom. So, I chose creamy soft ricotta cheese for the filling and to counter the sweetness from the ricotta, I added some mushroom sauce. Portobello mushroom was my first choice. The texture is amazing and it has a fantastic flavor to it. Having said that, I am sure any other mushroom will make this dish equally tasty.

Just so to enhance the flavor a little bit more, I thought of adding some fresh thyme. The smell of fresh thyme is soothing and it adds a divine flavor to dish. You can use dried thyme too as it's equally strong in flavor. Just remember to maintain this ratio when you use dried herb instead of fresh ones or vice versa (1 teaspoon dried herb = 1 tablespoon fresh herb).

Stuffed Jumbo Shells RecipeIngredients :

  •    30 jumbo shells

  •    1 cup ricotta cheese

  •    1 tbs chilly flakes

  •    3 portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped

  •    4 sprigs of fresh thyme

  •    1 medium onion, roughly chopped

  •    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  •    1/2 cup cream

  •    1 cup grated cheese (I used smoked cheddar)

  •    salt

  •    pepper

  •    oil

Directions :

  • Heat some oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and onion until they are soft and light golden in color.

  • Add the chopped mushrooms, salt, pepper and 2 sprigs of thyme leaves.

  • Sauté for another few minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.

  • Take them off the pan, pour it in a food processor and roughly grate them.

  • Once done, mix heavy cream to it and keep it aside.

  • Boil the pasta for about 7-8 minutes.

  • Drain it and let it cool completely.

  • For the filling, mix ricotta cheese with chilly flakes, salt, pepper and 2 sprigs of thyme leaves.

  • Once the shell pasta cools down, start filling it with the ricotta cheese mixture.

  • Grease a baking pan with some oil and pour half of the mushroom sauce.

  • Place a layer of the stuffed shells and pour the remaining mushroom sauce on top of the shells.

  • Then, arrange the remaining stuffed shells on the top.

  • Pour the grated cheese and cover as much you can.

  • Drizzle some olive oil on top and bake it at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

  • Enjoy it warm!

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