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Cheese stuffed shells with smoked salmon | ofbatteranddough.com

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells with Chili Smoked Salmon


  • Author: Rebecca Blackwell
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: 32 stuffed shells

Ingredients

FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE:

  • 1 cup packed fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt

FOR THE BREAD CRUMB TOPPING:

  • 3 slices sturdy white bread
  • ½ cup shredded Mahon-Menorca cheese
  • ½ tsp each: salt, black pepper, chili powder

FOR THE STUFFED SHELL FILLING:

  • 30 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Mahon-Menorca cheese
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp each: ground cumin, Spanish smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper
  • ½ lb (approximately 9oz) chili smoked salmon (or any smoked salmon)

FOR THE CHEESE AND CREAM SAUCE:

  • 2 ½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 ½ tbsp. butter
  • 3 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 18 oz shredded Mahon-Menorca cheese

Instructions

  1. Add 5 quarts of water and 1 tbsp salt to a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook for 8 minutes, until slightly underdone. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the past from cooking. Spread the shells out on a clean kitchen towel, open sides down, and allow to drain.
  2. Butter a 3 quart (9x13 inch) baking dish and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

MAKE THE CHIMICHURI SAUCE:

  1. Add all Chimichurri sauce ingredients to a food processor and process until blended, approximately 30 seconds. Pour sauce into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

MAKE THE BREAD CRUMB TOPPING:

  1. Add all the bread crumb topping ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are combined and the bread is chopped into fine bread crumbs. Dump into a bowl and cover until ready to use.

PREPARE THE STUFFED SHELL FILLING AND FILL THE SHELLS:

  1. Add all the filling ingredients, except the salmon, to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Stuff each shell with a heaping 1 tbsp of filling and place in buttered baking dish. You’ll have to really pack the shells in to the baking dish to fit all 32. Lay the shells in eight rows of four, pointy ends overlapping slightly to fit them all in the pan.
  3. Distribute pieces of salmon evenly over the ricotta filling in each shell, pressing the salmon gently into the filling.

MAKE THE CREAM SAUCE:

  1. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl, and have at the ready.
  2. Add the butter to a medium size saucepan and heat over medium to melt. Add the flour mixture to the butter and cook, stirring constantly, for 20 seconds.
  3. Gradually whisk in the cream and cook until the mixture comes to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from the heat.
  4. Distribute 18 oz grated Mahon-Menorca cheese evenly over the top of the stuffed shells.
  5. Pour the cream sauce evenly over the cheese-topped shells.

BAKE AND SERVE:

  1. Sprinkle the bread crumbs in an even layer over the top of the cream sauce.
  2. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet (to catch any sauce or cheese that might bubble over the sides of the pan) and bake the shells for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling around the edges of the pan. After about 25 minutes of cooking, keep a close eye on the bread crumb topping. If it appears to be getting too brown, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve with the chimichurri sauce on the side. (Note: Each serving needs only a teaspoon or two of chimichurri sauce. More can overwhelm the flavors in the stuffed shells.)
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 mins