I had some lovely baby eggplant from my Front Porch Pickings basket, and while I would have loved some baba ganoush, I knew I would be the only one happy about that. I dug this out of my to try file; it was from Emeril and I got it off the food network site. It was a little work, mostly because of the chopping, but I think it was totally worth it! I don't care for sausage, the boys don't care for eggplant, but we all devoured it. Even the baby girl ate well and that is impressive. It is totally rich, so all you can eat is about 2 shells, and I did tweak the recipe a bit based on how much eggplant I had, but it makes way more than 1/2 a box of pasta worth of shells. If I had used the full amount of sausage and eggplant, I would have used an entire box of shell easy, but I would have needed a larger pan, or made it in two batches. I really like this, and think I would be good without the sausage and more eggplant, or mushrooms in place of the sausage, or with veggie sausage.
Sausage And Eggplant-Stuffed Shells In A Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 Lb sweet Italian sausage (original amount 3/4 Lb) casings removed
2 Cup chopped onion
1 large eggplant cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I had almost 4 cups but the original recipe said about 7 cups cups)
1 1/2 Tsp salt
3/4 Tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbl minced garlic
1/2 Cup ricotta or mascarpone cheese
10 oz Frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry (but the original recipe said 12 ounces fresh spinach blanched, squeezed dry, and chopped (abo
1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 Tsp sugar (oops I forgot this)
1/2 (12-ounce) package jumbo pasta shells (about 18 shells) (I NEEDED WAY MORE!)
2 Cup Italian crushed tomatoes
3 Cup heavy cream
1/4 Cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
4 ounces coarsely grated fontina cheese
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high
heat and saute the sausage until golden brown, stirring to break up the
pieces, about 6 minutes. Add half of the onions and the eggplant, season
with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and cook for
4 to 6 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly caramelized and very
soft. Add 1 tablespoon garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the
heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over
medium high heat and saute the remaining chopped onions until
translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of garlic and
cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, remaining
3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and
cook for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce is
reduced in volume by about 1/3, about 20 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta shells
until just al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold
running water. Pat shells dry. Stuff the pasta shells with the sausage-
eggplant mixture and place in the prepared casserole dish
When the eggplant mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the
ricotta or mascarpone cheese, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and
sugar. Stir to combine well.
Lightly grease a deep 9 by 13-inch casserole or lasagna pan and set
Add the basil to the sauce and pour the sauce over the shells in the
casserole. Sprinkle with the fontina cheese and the remaining Parmesan.
Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking until the sauce is lightly browned
in spots and bubbly around the edges, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand
for 10 minutes before serving.