Friday, August 17, 2012

Stuffed Shells and Cooking with Gas

Cooking With Gas

Oh well – it’s nearly time for school to start here in Cornwallis, Virginia and I asked Rae Green of The Seawitch Saloon and Grill if she had any recipes both kids and busy parents would like. I expected something featuring the great seafood from the Eastern Shore but she surprised me by saying, “I’ve got just the thing, even teenagers who suddenly announce they are vegetarians have no excuse not to like this one.” Evidently Rae has had some experience with that problem.
Rae says two ingredients in her recipe make all the difference from the bland frozen shells you can purchase; sharp cheddar cheese and fresh garlic, plus it’s inexpensive!
Stuffed Shells
·         One 12 oz. box of jumbo pasta shells
·         One 24 oz. and one 16 oz. of cottage cheese. You can buy ricotta if you’re rich – she isn’t and says it doesn’t matter in this recipe. She also says if your cottage cheese is getting close to expiration date, it’s a good way to use it up.
·         Two eggs
·         Approximately two cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
·         4 Tablespoons parsley, 1 Tablespoon oregano, dried or fresh
·         3 cloves of fresh garlic, micro-planed
·         Salt and pepper
·         1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Rae says don't spend a fortune on a micro-planer - she bought hers at Sears in the hardware department. They make garlic mellower and improves the flavor
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While that’s happening, mix the cheeses, eggs, grated garlic, and seasonings together.  Cook your shells according to package directions, being sure to stir the pot so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or each other.

Drain cooked pasta and fill shells. Rae says a small size ice cream style scoop (which she uses for cookie dough) works well, keeping the same amount of filling in each shell.
This recipe makes approximately 30 stuffed shells. Not all of the pasta shells she cooked made it through the process and she threw those away. Rae put some of the stuffed shells in a small baking dish for dinner that night and placed the rest on waxed paper on a jelly-roll pan and froze them just that way, uncovered. Once frozen solid she puts them in freezer bags for later on, and this is the genius of this recipe because all you have to do later on is pull out what you need and bake with sauce.
She baked the unfrozen ones, covered in spaghetti sauce, for half an hour to forty-five minutes and says the frozen ones will cook up with ten minutes more.
A salad, some rolls and red wine (she likes a good Cabernet) for the adults (especially ones raising teenagers) makes a great dinner anytime of the week.
Rae and the crew down at The Seawitch Saloon and Grill say come and see us sometime – and bring your kids!

Cover image - Love on a Half Shell
Watch for Rae's story in Elvy Howard's debut novel

Coming soon (eBook and trade paperback) 
from Edward Allen Publishing.

Love on a Half Shell
Three parts love, two parts grit ~
a perfect recipe to save a family.


  1. OMG,Elvy, you're killin' me! This looks absolutely delicious. LOL, as a teenager, going vegan would have been the kiss of death, though I've heard it's a common shift. Looking forward to Love on a Half Shell!

  2. I have to try this recipe. It looks easy enough for even me to attempt. :-)

  3. Thanks! I've made this forever and it would be a weird thing not to have a bag of frozen stuffed shells in the freezer at this point. Even babies like it but if I'm having it only for adults, hot sauce or cayenne pepper added to the spaghetti sauce kicks it up a notch.