Monday, March 5, 2012

Arugula Pesto Stuffed Shells, Caprese Salad, and Chocolate Cake in a Mug

That title was a bit of a mouthful, eh?  I can tend to be long winded...I have to be really careful with my emails at work so I don't paragraph-whip people to death.  I just have a lot to say!  I keep thinking of more things that I should add to ensure that everyone sees things my way.  I think I should have been a lawyer so I could argue all day long.  But instead of arguing in court, I would sit in my office with a glass of wine Pellegrino, and write long-winded emails to people about why I am right in a variety of situations.  And I would give them 10 paragraphs of reasons why everyone should agree with my logic and just do what I want.  Its honestly just easier that way.

Anyway, I have a lot to say about these stuffed shells because they were delish!  I mean, I know that its kind of hard to go wrong with stuffed shells, because they are, after all, delicious pasta boats filled with cheese.  What could be better?  Oh, what's that you say?  A Prada purse filled with money?  Yeah, I guess that would be better. 

These aren't the lowest-calorie creation I've ever made, so I'd recommend not eating the whole pan, or if you do, find a way to cram in a triathlon before indulging.  But it sure was tasty, and the leftovers heat up nicely.  Serve them with caprese salad and chocolate cake in a mug, and you might want to step up to an Iron Man triathlon instead of just a regular one.  Enjoy!

Lemon and Arugula Pesto
Source: Adapted from Aggie's Kitchen 

2 cups arugula
1 lemon, juiced
zest from 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/3-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
big pinch salt and fresh black pepper
1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add arugula, lemon juice and zest, garlic, Parmesan, walnuts, salt and pepper to your food processor or blender. Pulse several times.  Continue to process ingredients while drizzling in olive oil until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. 

Lemon Arugula Pesto Stuffed Shells with Champagne Cream Sauce
Source: Adapted from Simply Scratch

1 box Jumbo Shells (you won't use them all)
1-1/2 cups Ricotta (I used part skim)
3/4 cup arugula pesto (recipe above)

8 oz. turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled (let cool)
1 cup Pecorino Romano, grated

3 tablespoons of Butter
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 clove of Garlic, finely minced
3/4 cup Champagne
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

 Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Butter a large baking dish and bring a large pot of water to boil and season generously with kosher salt. Cook the jumbo shell pasta two to three minutes shy of al dente (shy of the box directions).

Meanwhile, season the ricotta with salt and black pepper. Mix in the arugula pesto, sausage and half of the grated pecorino and set aside.

Once the pasta is partially cooked, drain well and spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet.  With a spoon stuff enough shells until the ricotta mixture is gone and place the stuffed shells into the prepared dishes. 

In a small sauce pan melt three tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add in the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant and soft, but not browned. Whisk in the three tablespoons of flour and cook for a couple of minutes, making a roux. Pour in champagne and whisk while you pour in the heavy cream. Let bubble (still whisking) until it thickens. Add some fresh ground black pepper and ground nutmeg, then remove and pour evenly over the stuffed shells.  Top with the rest of the pecorino.

Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

5 Minute Chocolate Fudge S’mores Mug Cake
makes 1 serving, can easily be doubled

2-3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (you can totally buy these in the baking section at the grocery!)
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular all purpose flour)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate (chips are fine)
marshmallow fluff

Combine 3 tablespoons butter and 1 ounce of chocolate in a small bowl, then melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Set aside. In another bowl, combine remaining melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs and stir until moistened. Press graham crumbs into the bottom of your mug.

In a bowl, whisk egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa, stir until a thick batter forms. Pour in melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine. Then fold in a few more chocolate chips. Add half of the mixture on top of the graham crust, then throw on a scoop of marshmallow fluff. Add remaining batter on top, then microwave for a minute to a minute and a half. Remove and top with additional marshmallow fluff if desired. (uh, why would you not?). Place mug directly under the broiler for about 10 seconds to toast the marshmallow.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Can you please make me some of that cake immediately?!