September 26, 2013
It seems like I’ve been out of commission for a little while, although it’s only been a week. I have no excuse except the cool crisp air has made me want to go to bed earlier. It’s darker in the morning when I wake up and darker in the evening so my evenings feel shorted.
What is great about this however, is I love the Fall! I want to have a fire in the fireplace, wear sweaters and cook comfort food. I’m seriously ready to wear jeans and boots but living in the south I feel ridiculous doing that now….especially when everyone else is still wearing shorts and flip-flops.
The one thing I can do when it’s colder in the evening is make a satisfying dinner that makes the soul warm. That usually involves some form of pasta because I am apparently a carb freak, but in trying to make it semi healthy, I have adapted this recipe so I don’t feel so guilty.
Leaves are changing color, nights are cool and despite the fact that your neighbors are still wearing flip-flops, you can still enjoy the Fall with comfort. That will include a satisfying dinner.
So turn up the air, put on a sweater and enjoy!
Smokey Chicken Stuffed Shells
- 4 links chicken sausage ( I use the garlic and roasted red pepper from Whole Foods)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped basil
- 1/2 cup chopped fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- One 12 ounce package jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces chopped roasted red pepper, drained
- 4 ounces chopped fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Remove the chicken sausage from casings and cook over medium heat, breaking into small bite size pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Add onion, garlic and paprika and cook for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and basil, mixing in well and set aside.
- Mix together ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, beaten egg, Add chicken mixture and combine well.
- Stuff cooked shells with chicken and cheese mixture and place in a baking dish.
- Bring the oil to medium heat in a saucepot. Sweat the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant, about one more minute. Stir in the peppers and tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes. Working in batches, process the sauce on high in a food processor until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot, reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cream. Remove the heat an stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour sauce over pasta shells and top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
- Serve immediately.