It was a cold and blustery weekend here on the Oregon coast, making Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Preserved Lemons a really good comfort food. It was also a recipe born out of thwarted plans and icy roads. We’ve had great weather all winter long with just a few nights in the high thirties. All of that came to a screeching halt yesterday when the Polar Vortex split into two and decided to extend its icy fingers over the PNW. Yesterday rained, snow pelleted, and rained some more. We went to Bandon for the Gorse Festival Bloody Mary Stroll and came back to slushy streets. My poor herbs and geraniums that have dutifully grown all winter long had to be bundled up in the garage, where they are likely to stay all week long.
All of this to say that, while my original plan for this week’s blog post was Dungeness crab mac and cheese, I gave up when I looked out the window this morning and saw a dusting of snow. Yep, I’m from Colorado originally and driving in snow doesn’t really phase me, but I’ve learned that other motorists who are from this coast and California aren’t quite as skilled. (I don’t fault them – they didn’t learn to drive in March in the snow driving their mother’s 82 Mustang that had absolutely no traction whatsoever). Bottom line was I wasn’t leaving the house.
Fortunately, we’d already grocery shopped and I had all the necessary ingredients set aside for these stuffed shells with ricotta and preserved lemons. I’m sure Dungeness crab will show up on the blog next week. In the meantime, these creamy shells are baked in a glorious white wine cheese sauce. If it’s going to insist on being cold and frozen all week long, at least I’ll have a cozy, comforting lunch.
- 16 jumbo pasta shells - cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (divided into half)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup half and half
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the ricotta cheese, herbes de Provence, and preserved lemon and stir to combine. Fill each shell with a tablespoon of the cheese mixture and place in a casserole dish. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour, a bit at a time, whisking constantly until all butter is incorporated. Add the white wine slowly and whisk until it is incorporated. Add the half and half and stir over medium heat until the sauce is smooth and begins to thicken. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Taste and add pepper/salt to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the shells. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has started to turn golden brown. Broil for 1 or 2 minutes if desired.
- Serves 4 Enjoy!