Friday, June 11, 2010

Pierogi Style Stuffed Shells with Bechamel Sauce

Pierogi Stuffed Shells1

Stuffed Shells = Not photogenic!

I had to start by letting you all know that.

I'm not a professional food photographer, I know, I know, I can hear the gasps of astonishment. YOU AREN'T? Hell, I'm just happy some of my photos make you want to try a recipe. I'm just your average everyday blogger who likes to take pictures of the food she feeds her family and most times the food is really, really tasty but it is not all the time very, very pretty.

These shells weren't very nice to look at, but man o' man they tasted so good.

This is another one of those recipe that I made up as I went along. I saw something similar in a magazine while I was waiting at the dentists office, thought to myself, oh I should see if I can get a copy of that, cause I'm so not about ripping out the page in the waiting room anymore.

That is actually something I did quite a lot. I posted about it once and someone suggested I just ask them to photocopy the page, and guess what, they will. At least they will at my dentist's office. I know if I was at my hippie doctors office she would copy anything I asked her to and it would be printed on the back of a piece of junk mail, or the flip side of a paper she didn't need, cause she is all about recycling and doing your part and I think that's too cool.

Anyway, back to the shells. I never did get a copy. I got called in fairly quickly and just forgot about it, but I knew I could wing it at home and probably make it even better, and I think I did.

So here's my version of a pierogi style stuffed shells. Creamy mashed taters, onions and shallots, butter, milk, eggs and cheese all packed into a shell and baked with a bechamel sauce.

Oh and can I just tell you that I am so taking the filling for these and adding in some bacon or pancetta then throwing it in the oven for a delicious side dish. Mashed potatoes kicked up a notch.

Pierogi Stuffed Shells

Here's to double starches!

Pierogi Style Stuffed Shells with Bechamel Sauce
1- 12oz package jumbo pasta shells
3 - 3 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped green onions

In a large skillet cook the chopped onion & shallots in the olive oil until tender. Set aside.

Boil the shells in a large pot of salted water until they are cooked al dente. Don’t let them get mushy!

Place the potatoes with a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling under tender (about 10 - 12 mins).

Place the potatoes into a large bowl. Either using a potato ricer or a masher, mash until smooth adding in the butter, milk, eggs, cheddar and green onions. Mix to combine.

Stuff each shell with the mixture. I probably used about a heaping tablespoon for each shell. Really stuff 'em good.

Béchamel Sauce – from Simply Recipes
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

Heat the milk until almost boiling in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. In a separate pan melt the unsalted butter with the flour over low heat. Stir rapidly with a spoon. Cook this for 1 minute and then remove from the heat.

Slowly add half the hot milk to your butter and flour mixture. During this process stir constantly.
Return the milk, butter, flour mixture to low heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the remaining milk slowly while stirring working it into the thickened sauce. Continue to stir until it comes to a boil.

Season with some sea salt, and continue stirring until the right consistency has developed. If any lumps form, beat them out rapidly with a whisk until they dissolve. Remove from heat.

Pour the sauce over the shells and bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 350, or until hot and bubbly.
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