“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

13 August 2011

Creamy Seafood Stuffed Shells

Is it strange that I’ve never made stuffed shells.  Ever.  I did make manicotti once and it was a pain, so I haven’t been very excited about doing anything similar.  I have to say shells are quite easy and not too much trouble.  I even stayed pretty close to the recipe this time.  See what you think. 

Creamy Seafood Stuffed Shells
serves 8
24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon finely chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 teaspoon plus ¼ cup butter, divided
2 cans (6 ounces each) lump crabmeat, drained
1 package (5 ounces) frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plus 4 cups milk, divided
1½ teaspoons seafood seasoning, divided
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a small skillet, sauté green pepper and onion in 1 teaspoon butter until tender; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the crab, shrimp, egg, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, pepper and green pepper mixture.

Drain and rinse pasta; stuff each shell with 1 rounded tablespoon of seafood mixture.  Place in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and coarsely ground pepper; gradually whisk in remaining milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Pour over stuffed shells.  Sprinkle with remaining seafood seasoning.  Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

So, of course, I didn’t add the onions.  Or the green peppers.  No one here – with the possible exception of my oldest – likes peppers, so I skipped the whole skillet thing altogether and just added a little onion powder to the seafood mixture.  I also tried some whipped cream cheese instead of the mayo.  Didn’t think it would make that much difference in the creaminess, plus it would add a little more cheesiness.  And I used refrigerated crab meat – the imitation kind that’s still made with real fish.  Looks like this, only this says it’s real crab.  Aquamar Crab Meat  It was WAY cheaper than the canned stuff.  And, although I bought frozen shrimp, I forgot to thaw it so I just popped open a can.  (I keep them around for a yummy snack – I’ll have to share that one of these days...)  Stuck to the recipe other than that.  hahahaha!

This was a big hit.  We’re pasta fans around here, and I adore seafood, so it went over very well.  The cheese sauce was particularly yum, made again with my parmesan blend from Sam’s.  Bella Collina 4 cheese blend  Here it is, hot and bubbly just out of the oven.  (Looks a lot like the poisson florentine.  And yes, my stovetop is clean, very clean, no unwiped toast crumbs there, it must be spots on your glasses, uh, contact lenses, uh, eyes.  Yeah that's it.)

And paired with a simple lettuce salad.
Mmm, cheesy pasta goodness!

I also want to give a shout out to Two Peas and Their Pod for dessert, Twix Caramel Brownies!  If youre a fan of chocolate and caramel these brownies are to die for.  I crunched up the Twix bars using my handy mini-food processor (find one at Wal-mart here).  Reasonably inexpensive and I end up using it lots more than I do my big one.  Its the perfect size for making bread or cracker crumbs, or crunching up Oreos, candy and all sorts of other things.  Lots easier to clean too.

I had no caramel ice cream sauce in my house either (thought I did, darn it!) but I did have a bag of these so I tossed in a handful with the Twix chunks.  Yum!  You HAVE to try these!

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