Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stufffed Shells with Pancetta and Garlic Cooking Cream




To make garlic cooking cream:

Roast a head of of garlic and scoop out garlic goodness into small saucepan (2-4 cloves, to taste) Add 1/2 a package of cream cheese and 1/4 cup sour cream. Warm, stirring occasionally.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and a 10 x 9 glass baking dish. Set aside

1 box jumbo pasta shells

Cook shells in boiling salted water 4-6 minutes. They should be firm as they will continue to cook in the oven.

Drain and place on cookie sheet, and spread out so they cool (a slotted spoon works better than a colander so the shells don't fall apart).

In another bowl mix:

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 small eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons parsley

pinch of salt and pepper


In a large fry pan:

saute 2 to 3 ounces of Pancetta on medium in 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for about 5 minutes (will be golden brown) and remove. The pancetta is more of a "flavor" to the dish, not the main meat ingredient. It is also quite salty, so be very stingy on salt in the rest of the recipe.

Finely chop the Pancetta and return to pan. Add 1 pound ground turkey or chicken breast and cook thoroughly. Do not drain.

Add:
1/4 cup grated carrot (gives it a nice sweetness)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 jar Basil Marinara sauce
1 teaspoon wild honey
1 heaping teaspoon of Penzey's Tuscan Sunset OR
pinch of:
Basil
Oregano
thyme
fennel
anise
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cover and simmer on low 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in warmed "cooking cream" (like the Kraft kind but without all the chemicals), stir well and reduce heat just to keep warm.

To assemble:

Fill each cooled shell with a generous 2-3 Tablespoons of ricotta filling

Spread a cup and half of the sauce in the bottom of the oiled cook pan. Place shells on top and cover with remaining Pancetta meat sauce. Sprinkle a cup of fresh shredded Parmesan cheese on top and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

* To Roast Garlic:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
Place the garlic heads in a baking pan and drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.

When the garlic is cool enough that you can handle it without burning yourself, use a small knife to cut the skin slightly around each clove. Your your fingers or a small cocktail fork to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

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