Pasta pasta! Here is what I like about stuffed pasta shells - you get them ready and you can leave them in the refrigerator until about a half hour before serving time, then just pop them into the oven and boom! Dinnertime. Stuffed shells are good for a small group, easy enough to prepare, and they're rather filling, depending on your stuffing choices, and stuffing choices abound. You can go anywhere from ground meats to sausage to seafood to vegetarian. For this meal, I've gone with a simple mixture of shrimp, goat cheese and spinach. Don't mistake simple for boring. This has a ton of flavor. This is partly because of the Cajun blend I like to use. Awesome go-to seasoning, a must for any kitchen.
Also because of the goat cheese. Goat cheese is the perfect soft cheese, so much flavor and so melty, like a cream cheese but much more distinctive. But also, this sauce ROCKS. If you're in a hurry and want to make this quick, go ahead and use a store bought pasta sauce, but this is so much better. Ever since I've been making my own pepper-tomato sauces, we've been much happier, especially when I can walk out and pick peppers and tomatoes directly from the garden. Oh yes! I can't wait for my garden to grow.
Patty's Perspective: Goat cheese has become a staple in our home because it goes so well with so many foods, and I love the flavor. Try it instead of a more traditional ricotta. Much more flavorful.
Shrimp and Goat Cheese Stuffed Shells with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Ingredients for the sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes, roasted
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 8 basil leaves, chopped (or a tablespoon of dried basil if you don't have fresh)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder - I used cayenne powder, but red pepper flakes are good
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Stuffed Shells
- 10 ounces goat cheese
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasonings
- 16 large pasta shells
- Get your sauce going by heating a large saucepan to medium heat. Add olive oil with onion and cook about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
- Add bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir to break apart.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until ready to use. The longer you simmer, the more the flavors will develop.
- For the shells, heat a large pan to medium heat. Season the shrimp with Cajun seasonings and add to pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes per side, or until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and chop.
- Add shrimp to a mixing bowl with cooked spinach and goat cheese. Stir to combine.
- Boil the pasta shells in salted water to your preferred doneness, about 10 minutes or so. Drain and cool.
- Spoon some of your sauce onto a large baking dish, covering the bottom.
- Stuff each shell with your shrimp-goat cheese mixture and set into the baking dish. Covere with remaining sauce.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove and serve!