This recipe was inspired first, by a recipe that I had found on the AllRecipes site (I’ll provide the link at the end) and secondly by a recipe on the back of the Italpasta jumbo shells package. You see, I had emailed the Allrecipe one to my family awhile back and it was a huge hit! I did change that recipe slightly by using ricotta cheese instead of half of the cottage cheese and I suggested adding some frozen – or fresh – spinach to the cheese mixture. It was a hit!
In response to that recipe, my Aunt Paul had a craving. So she jumped into the car and went to the store to get some jumbo shells. I know, the recipe is that good! When she got the pasta home, she noticed the recipe on the back and decided to try it. She didn’t have potatoes or ham so she used 1 can of navy beans and bacon instead. It turned out sooooo good that my Uncle ate six of them! lol
I’m going to give you the recipe both ways and you can decide which way that you like the most.
- 1 russet potato peeled and chopped – my Aunt used 1 can of navy beans blended in a blender with a splash of milk until smooth
- 4 oz (6 tbsp.) plain brick style cream cheese ( she used one package of cream cheese)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 ham steak finely chopped – she used 8 strips of bacon, fried crisp and chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finally chopped onions
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tbsp. of flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1/2 tsp. each of salt, pepper
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook Jumbo Shells in a large pot boiling salted water until al dente 15 minutes drain well
- FILLING – cook the potato in boiling salted water 7 to 10 minutes drain well. Beat the cream cheese with the milk until smooth. Stir in the potato (or navy beans), ham (or bacon), and peas. Stuff each shell with a heaping tablespoon of the filling.
- SAUCE – Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, and garlic. Add flour once onions and garlic start to cook. Cook stirring for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375 spread half the sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in a single layer. Pour remaining sauce over top and sprinkle the shredded cheese. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes let stand 5 minutes before serving.
I hope you enjoy your stuffed shells! You’re going to be stuffed yourselves if you try all of recipes at once though! giggle
Remember, I suggest substituting half of the cottage cheese for ricotta and adding spinach to the cheese mixture. Happy cooking!