I have been putting my palette to the test recently with wines from regions I am not 100% accustom to. I love Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhone style wines but rarely do I drink something straight from France but that is about to change. Last night I paired an Italian dinner and a French wine and both were exquisite! Try this super easy, yet, bound to impress recipe.
The Recipe For Our Italian Dinner
Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells With Red Meat Sauce
What you will need: one box Jumbo shells
one 15 oz carton of Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach (a little more if you use frozen – make sure it is thawed)
1 jar spagehetti sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes (preferably italian)
1lb of cooked ground beef
3 garlic cloves (optional)
5-7 fresh basil leaves (optional)
dash of salt
dash of pepper
The Red Meat Sauce
Mix together the jar of spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, chopped garlic cloves, chopped basil leaves, cooked ground beef, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. Let this simmer together for as long as possible. I usually start it in the crockpot the morning of but if time does not allow for a long simmer than that’s ok, just omit the garlic as it will not have time to cook down.
The Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Begin by preheating the over to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Cook the shells according to the box. Typically, they will tell you how long to cook them if being stuffed with a mixture…follow that! If it does not tell you, then cook them the regular amount of time stated less 2-3 minutes. Note: this mixture will provide you with enough to stuff 15-18 shells so do not cook the whole box of shells if there is more than that in it.
- In a large mixing bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, spinach, and a dash of salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.
- Once your shells are cooked, drain them and stuff each with the mixture and place in a greased baking dish. How much mixture you want in each is up to you but I generally put one large spoonful worth. If you need to make more than 15-18 shells than put slightly less mixture in each.5. Finally, top the shells with your red meat sauce.6. Cover in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Note: The filling will be VERY hot so let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
French Wine Pairing
We paired this Italian dinner with a 2014 Louis Jadot Beaujolais. This red blend was a very easy drink with bright fruit flavors and gentle acidity. I would highly recommend this wine, especially at $12.99. Be sure to give this French wine a go if you ever come across it.