The story of these beef mushroom and ricotta stuffed shells goes like this:
“I’m going to make stuffed shells. I will stuff them with a ricotta/basil/asiago mixture and also ground beef and mushrooms and it will be delicious.”
“Hmmm, this kind of seems like how I make lasagna except with my beef one, I usually don’t do the ricotta and I do a white and red sauce… it might just be easier to make lasagna.”
“No, I bought the shells already, I’ll just do the stuffed shells.”
… Boils shells, cooks ground beef and mushrooms, starts filling shells with ricotta. Realize both the ricotta and beef mixture aren’t going to fit in the shells in adequate amounts. Realize how tedious this is becoming. Get annoyed with shells. Decide I’m just going to shove the ricotta in the shells and be done with it. Decide to mix the beef mixture in to the tomato butter marinara and just cover the ricotta stuffed shells with a meat sauce.
Realize it isn’t going to look great. Realize I don’t give a shit because there’s no way I’m going to go to the effort of stuffing the shells with both ricotta and beef. Realize nobody else would do it either once they started doing it because who even cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good?
Cover the shells in meat sauce, cover the meat sauce in mozzarella, bake, top with pesto because pesto is life and then try it. And die.
Actually, no. I photographed it first. Then popped it in the fridge to reheat with dinner later. Put it back in the oven, poured a glass of wine and hungout with Mark while I drank wine and dinner reheated. Also made a salad because we eat ample green things with our carbs, cheese and beef for health and what have you.
Got a little tipsy because I always drink my wine too fast on an empty stomach and this wine was a touch higher in alcohol % than normal. Took a bite of the stuffed shells and THEN died. Because it was so delicious I couldn’t even deal with it.
That seems excessive, but that’s what happens when you’ve been drinking wine on an empty stomach.
But really, all subsequent meals were equally delicious.
All subsequent meals were also after large glasses of wine. On an empty stomach. What can I say, I love me some red wine and stuffed shells.
You will, too. I promise.
- 26 jumbo shells
- 1 recipe for tomato butter marinara *see link below
- ½ lb lean or extra lean ground beef
- 225g sliced mushrooms
- 300g full fat ricotta
- 1¼ cups asiago, divided
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup shredded fresh basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
- basil pesto, to serve
- Optional but recommended: big glasses of red wine. Before or after... or while cooking.
- Cook jumbo shells in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat and season with a few pinches of salt. Once cooked, remove from pan, draining excess fat if necessary. Add mushrooms to the pan along with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring every so often, until mushrooms are cooked, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add mushrooms to the beef and set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, egg, basil, ¾ cup asiago and about ¼ tsp salt. Taste, add more salt if necessary.
- In a 9x13 inch baking pan or 2 8x8 inch pans, cover the bottom(s) with a thin layer of marinara. Add the beef and mushroom mixture to the remaining sauce.
- Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish, open side up.
- Top with meat sauce then top with remaining asiago and all of the mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and pasta is al dente.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes then plate and serve with optional extra asiago/parmesan and/or basil pesto.
Leftovers reheat very well in the oven at 375F for approx. 15-20 minutes.
Leftovers will keep for 5 days covered tightly in the fridge.