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Thread: Do you have to pre-cook jumbo shells for stuffed shells?

  1. #1
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    Question Do you have to pre-cook jumbo shells for stuffed shells?

    I no longer pre-cook my lasagna noodles but does the same hold true with shells? Have any of you made stuffed shells without pre-cooking the shells and gotten a favorable result? Oh, I'm making CL's Stuffed Shells with teh Smokey Marinara sauce if it makes a difference.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHRIST1NE
    I no longer pre-cook my lasagna noodles but does the same hold true with shells? Have any of you made stuffed shells without pre-cooking the shells and gotten a favorable result? Oh, I'm making CL's Stuffed Shells with teh Smokey Marinara sauce if it makes a difference.

    Many thanks!
    If it's the Four Cheese stuffed-shells with smoky Marinara, you do cook the shells first.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, my water just came to a boil...

  4. #4
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    I always just par cook them. Think they stuff easier/less likely to break and after baking the pasta still has some texture.
    A well rounded person is perfectly pointless. - Carrie

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeK
    If it's the Four Cheese stuffed-shells with smoky Marinara, you do cook the shells first.
    The recipe may call for pre-cooking, but I think she was asking if anyone has successfully made a stuffed shell recipe without cooking the shells first (like lasagna). I too also never pre-cook any lasagna noodles, regardless.


    ETA: Hi Carrie!
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  6. #6
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    I have always pre-cooked jumbo shells before stuffing them. However, I will be very interested in seeing if anyone has been successful at usine them not pre-cooked. Anything to save some time...

    Peggy
    To take the first step in faith, you don't have to see the whole staircase: just take the first step. - Dr. Martin Luther King

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA

    ETA: Hi Carrie!

    Hi Pam in Texas now
    A well rounded person is perfectly pointless. - Carrie

  8. #8
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    A quick update.... the shells were amazing and I par cooked them as Curiosity Hears suggested. I used all fresh herbs and filled them with a pastry bag so they looked pretty. Instead of making 2x 9x13 pans fulls I made 3 x 8x8 pans and froze 2. I was so looking forward to the leftovers tonight only to find the dish from last night still on the counter when I got up this morning Grrrrr I hate it when I do that.

  9. #9
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    I usually pre-cook mine, but there was a CL recipe last year for manicotti that had you add a cup of water before baking uncooked shells. That may work with the shells if someone felt like fiddling around with it. Here's the manicotti recipe.

    Oh and I really hate it when I forget to stash something in the fridge. That happens a lot to me with stocks, I'll leave them out to cool down, and wake up in the morning only to toss them. I hate that.


    Easy Meatless Manicotti
    From CL


    2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
    1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese
    1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
    1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
    1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
    Cooking spray
    1 cup water

    Preheat oven to 375.
    Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti. Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 2 manicotti)

    NUTRITION PER SERVING
    CALORIES 328(25% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 4.8g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 23.8g; CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 451mg; SODIUM 891mg; FIBER 3.9g; IRON 3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38.3g

    Catherine Salzman
    Cooking Light, MAY 2005
    Merry: I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
    Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?


    I'm food bloggin' almost daily at Tummy Treasure!

  10. #10
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    I don't think it would really work to not cook the shells first ~ it seems to me like they almost stretch when you cook them, making it easier to fit more filling in. I could be wrong though, would love to hear if anyone has success with it.
    Understand, when you eat meat, that something did die. You have an obligation to value it - not just the sirloin but also all those wonderful tough little bits.
    Anthony Bourdain

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHRIST1NE
    A quick update.... the shells were amazing and I par cooked them as Curiosity Hears suggested. I used all fresh herbs and filled them with a pastry bag so they looked pretty. Instead of making 2x 9x13 pans fulls I made 3 x 8x8 pans and froze 2. I was so looking forward to the leftovers tonight only to find the dish from last night still on the counter when I got up this morning Grrrrr I hate it when I do that.


    Glad you had success. Thanks for the big smile. My great Aunt Carmella taught me that trick years ago and it works beautifully every time.

    Enjoy the holiday!
    A well rounded person is perfectly pointless. - Carrie

  12. #12
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    I make a sausage-stuffed manicotti and I don't cook the manicotti first, FWIW. There is some extra water added to the sauce, as in the other recipe posted.

  13. #13
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    Shells are so thick, and the shape might play more of a factor than with manicotti. I like to cook them just under al dente, so I know they'll have just the right amount of crispiness as they peek out from the sauce on top. If anyone does try them uncooked, I too will be glad to know how it works, but I'm not going to be trying it anytime soon. Then again, I still cook lasagna noodles....

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