Posts Tagged ‘sauce’

Stuffed Shells

March 23, 2010

For whatever reason, I’ve been really taping into my inner Italian.  After all, who can resist the infamous FWPP (fashion, wine, pasta and pizza)? And yes… I did just make that up.

This week, my Sunday night dinner project had stuffed pasta shells on the menu.  I decided to fill them with a Bolognese/lasagna style meat sauce, complete with copious amounts of mozzarella cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?

I was extremely pleased with the result and really enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today. The assembly did take a little bit of time, but the end result was well worth it!


  • 1 package extra lean ground beef (or chicken, sausage, turkey…whatever you prefer)
  • 1 bottle tomato sauce (to avoid sodium induced jar sauces try this recipe by Jamie Oliver)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • ½ an onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by placing all of the veggies that are coarsely chopped into a food processor (if you don’t have one, you can use a grater, but this method will take much longer). Mix until all the veggies are finely chopped.

In a deep pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the veggie mixture for about 5-10 minutes on medium high to build flavour.

Add the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add the can of tomato paste and sauté for another 5 minutes to keep building on this flavour.

Add the ground beef and stir until browned. Add the tomato sauce and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring from time to time. Let the mixture cool a little bit before handling and then stir in 2 cups of the grated cheese.

Cook the large pasta shells according to package directions.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees and grease a large baking dish or casserole.

Spoon in about a tbsp of the mixture in each shell and then place in the baking dish, in a single layer. Once all the shells are stuffed, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top (add more if you wish). Bake for about 20 minutes until all the cheese is melted and golden brown.

I served them with asparagus that I roasted on a cookie tray for ten minutes while the shells were in the oven. I drizzled them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tsp of dijon mustard, a minced garlic clove and salt and pepper.



February 8, 2010

Wow. Mid-February already? Really?

It’s been a rough few weeks and I haven’t felt like blogging. It’s just like when you take a “break” from the gym, doing yoga or exercising…the longer you stay away, the harder it is to get back into the game. Today I made a deal with myself. I would finish a blog post tonight and go to yoga tomorrow (now that it’s in writing, there’s no breaking the promise).

I bought some cauliflower the other day for a veggie and dip platter and as it turns out, cauliflower isn’t the favourite veggie of the bunch. I personally go through fazes with cauliflower, sometimes I love it and sometimes I just don’t want to eat it. I blame part of this on my dad who used to boil it up and sprinkle on shredded cheese, about twice a week. There’s definitely nothing wrong with this, I just got a little sick of it as a kid. To this day when I eat cauliflower I think of my dad.

To use up all the leftover cauliflower I made a Cauliflower Gratin, or as the French would call it “Gratin de chou-fleu”. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish and was pretty darn tasty. Too bad I couldn’t really enjoy very much of it…stupid stomach virus that doesn’t seem to want to go away.

Cauliflower Gratin  

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups grated cheese (I used white cheddar)
  • 1 cup panko break crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a saucepan, boil the cauliflower florets in salted boiling water for about 4 minutes. Drain.

In another saucepan, bring the milk, bay leaves, garlic and onion to a very gentle simmer. Let this infuse on low heat for about 10 minutes.

In a frying pan melt half the butter and add the flour. Stir and cook this mixture for about a minute. Take the bay leaves and garlic clove out of the milk mixture and slowly add the mixture to the butter and flower. Whisk constantly until all the milk mixture is incorporated and smooth. It will thicken instantly, but you really need to whisk hard.

Stir in ¾ of the grated cheese and toss the cauliflower in the sauce. Pour the mixture into a baking dish or casserole. Melt the remaining butter and mix with the panko breadcrumbs to make a topping. Sprinkle this topping on the cauliflower, along with the remaining cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.