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Christine Geery

Christine Geery
Location
Utah,
Birthday
February 17
Bio
I've never played by the rules. I was absent the day they handed those out. I believe in being kind, playing fair, laughing often, not judging others and drinking red wine. And I always kiss my Sweetie goodnight. It may lead to other fun stuff. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Life is short!  Break the rules!  Forgive quickly!  Kiss slowly! Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably... And never regret anything that made you smile. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Always remember that stressed spelled backwards is desserts. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~ Mark Twain

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JANUARY 18, 2011 10:57AM

Foodie Tuesday: Sausage and Eggplant Stuffed Shells

Rate: 12 Flag

This is one of my all time favorite meals. In the winter months it is so soul satisfying. It is best made with fresh basil, but no one says you can't substitute dried.  The sauce is so good it will make your eyes water with joy. I'm not kidding. Of course as you all know by now I'm a foodie, and good food makes me very, very happy.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 2 cups chopped onion

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 7 cups cubed)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

  • 12 ounces fresh spinach, blanched, squeezed dry, and chopped (about 2/3 cup chopped)

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 (12-ounce) package jumbo pasta shells (about 18 shells)

  • 1 28 oz can Italian crushed tomatoes

  • 3 cups heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 tablespoons dried (rub between palms of hands to release flavor)

  • 4 ounces coarsely grated fontina or parmesan cheese

Directions

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the sausage until golden brown, stirring to break up the pieces, about 6 minutes. Add half of the onions and the eggplant, season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly caramelized and very soft. Add 1 tablespoon garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the ricotta  cheese, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and sugar. Stir to combine well.

Lightly grease a deep 9 by 13-inch casserole or lasagna pan and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta shells until just al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Pat shells dry. Stuff the pasta shells with the sausage-eggplant mixture and place in the prepared casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat and saute the remaining chopped onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce is reduced in volume by about 1/3, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the basil to the sauce and pour the sauce over the shells in the casserole. Sprinkle with  the remaining Parmesan. Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the sauce is lightly browned in spots and bubbly around the edges, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: You can leave out the sausage to make for a vegetarian meal.

Serve with crunchy bread and salad

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

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Comments

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Christine--nice, nice recipe. This is getting copied to my recipe file for cooking. Thanks.
first grilled cheese and now this..:) I wish they made gluten free pasta shells.. but you never know.
This is delish Christine.:)
RATED WITH HUNGRY HUGS :)
How great does this sound? Have you ever frozen it?
Gary, I have never frozen it. It doesn't last this long, but if they freeze pasta in supermarkets why not? I've always been a bit skeptical myself.
Linda, they make gluten free pasta, don't they? Mix the filling with the pasta, pour sauce over and cheese and voila...I think.
Walter, thank you
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been trying to find something to cook for my neighbor and her new boyfriend. This will be perfect, and I won't even have to test the recipe ('cuz I trust you, girl!)

Lezlie
Again, this sounds delicious and full of all my favourite ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

I always enjoy trying new recipes.
You cannot get more more Italian than melanzane, basilica, fontina and pomodoro with pasta - deeeelicious ! Thank you, Christine. You must start photographing your dishes for your cook book. ;o)
Lezlie, they will love it, and you can trust me.
Linda, thank you
Fusun, you are too kind. Maybe if these were all original recipes of my own, I would consider a cookbook.
Had I not eaten that apple fritter at lunch time, this would have been mouth watering appetizing. After I ate half an egg salad sandwich. I need to go to a meeting. About stacking food, caring less at the time that bad tummy pain will now follow me till evening. Great recipe for another day!
I want my eyes to water with joy and not onions.
I love tomato/cream sauces. I make a similar dish with eggplant and smoked mozzarella (to replace some of the flavor of meat) and adding ground fennel seed (a vegetarian trick to replicate the flavor of sausage). When the temperature dips, it's recipes like these that I crave!
"The sauce is so good it will make your eyes water with joy."

I've never tasted anything quite that good! This sounds delicious, Christine. Thank you.
Christine, this sounds so scrumptious, I might get my lazy self up and try it. :)
Christine, This looks fantastic! I forgot to tell you about the pasta e fagiole. Your recipe was perfect. I goofed and bought the wrong kind of sausage (too firm to crumble out of the casing) but next time I'll get it right! xox