Welcome to a flavorful journey of pasta perfection with our Savory Baked Shells with Gremolata recipe. If you’re looking for easy dinner ideas, a vegetarian recipe, or simply a comforting dish, this Italian-inspired creation is just what you need. With crispy baked pasta shells, creamy textures, zesty gremolata sauce, and a hint of Italian seasoning, this homemade comfort food will become a weeknight favorite.
Imagine sinking your teeth into al dente pasta shells, coated in a luscious blend of cheeses and topped with a burst of citrusy gremolata sauce. It’s a mouthwatering combination that will leave you craving more. Whether you’re a pasta lover or looking for a hearty dish that’s sure to please everyone at the table, these Baked Shells with Gremolata are a winner.
To bring this delectable recipe to life, all you need are a few simple ingredients and our step-by-step instructions. You’ll be amazed at how easily this dish comes together, making it perfect for both novice and experienced home cooks. So, let’s dive into the world of homemade cooking and discover the essence of Italian cuisine with our Savory Baked Shells with Gremolata.
Get ready to unleash your culinary skills and create a memorable dining experience right in your own kitchen. Let’s begin!
Ingredients and Preparation
To make the delicious Savory Baked Shells with Gremolata, you’ll need a variety of fresh ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pasta shells
- Olive oil
- Cheddar cheese
- Fontina cheese
- Whole milk
- Lemon peel
The preparation process involves a few key steps:
- Start by mincing fresh parsley and lemon peel. These ingredients will add a burst of flavor to the dish.
- Cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions until they’re al dente. This will ensure the perfect texture.
- Prepare the gremolata sauce by mixing together minced parsley, lemon peel, and olive oil. This zesty sauce is the star of the dish.
- Assemble the dish by combining the cooked pasta shells, gremolata sauce, and a creamy cheese sauce made with butter, flour, half-and-half, cheddar cheese, and fontina cheese.
- Once everything is well-mixed, transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle panko on top for a crispy crust.
- Bake the shells in the oven until they’re golden and bubbly.
Follow these detailed instructions to ensure that each step is executed properly, resulting in a mouthwatering dish that combines the flavors of baked pasta shells with the zesty gremolata sauce. Prepare your ingredients and get ready to savor this delicious creation!
Making the Gremolata Sauce
The gremolata sauce is the star of this recipe. It’s a classic Italian condiment made with parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. The combination of these ingredients adds a zesty and fresh flavor to the dish. To make the gremolata sauce, mince the parsley, garlic, and lemon peel, then mix them together with olive oil. This sauce is easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time for convenience. It adds a burst of citrusy flavor to the baked shells and enhances the overall taste of the dish.
- Lemon zest
- Olive oil
- Mince the parsley, garlic, and lemon peel.
- In a small bowl, combine the minced ingredients with olive oil.
- Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- The gremolata sauce is ready to use.
For a more pronounced citrus flavor, add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to the gremolata sauce.
Assembling and Baking the Shells
Now that you have the gremolata sauce ready, let’s move on to assembling and baking the shells to create the ultimate comfort food. Follow these simple steps to bring this delightful dish to life:
- Cook the pasta shells: Start by cooking the pasta shells until they reach the perfect al dente consistency. This will ensure that they hold their shape when baked and provide a satisfying texture.
- Prepare the cheese sauce: In a saucepan, melt butter and add flour to create a roux. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in grated cheddar and fontina cheeses until melted, creating a creamy and cheesy sauce.
- Combine the shells with the sauce: Once the pasta shells are cooked, drain them and add them to the sauce. Gently mix until each shell is coated with the rich and velvety cheese sauce.
- Add the gremolata sauce: Now it’s time to elevate the flavors even further. Pour the prepared gremolata sauce over the pasta shells and cheese mixture. Be sure to evenly distribute the gremolata sauce to ensure every shell is infused with its zesty goodness.
- Place in a baking dish: Transfer the cheesy and gremolata-coated pasta shells into a baking dish. Arrange them in a single layer for even cooking and optimal presentation.
- Add a crispy crust: Sprinkle a generous amount of panko breadcrumbs over the top of the shells, creating a crunchy and golden crust that adds texture and visual appeal.
- Bake to perfection: Preheat your oven and bake the assembled shells at the recommended temperature until the dish is golden and bubbly. The enticing aromas and irresistible sight of the bubbling cheese will have your taste buds tingling with anticipation.
Once the Baked Shells with Gremolata are ready to be served, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. The result is a comforting and satisfying dish that pairs well with a crisp salad or garlic bread. Get ready to indulge in a hearty meal that combines the creamy richness of baked pasta shells with the fresh and zesty flavors of gremolata sauce.
Table: Cookware and Ingredients for Baked Shells with Gremolata Recipe
|Whisk or spoon
|Measuring cups and spoons
Serving and Storing the Dish
Once the Baked Shells with Gremolata are ready, you can serve them hot and fresh as a main course for dinner. The creamy texture, zesty flavors, and cheesy goodness will impress your family and guests.
If you have leftovers, you can easily store them in a sealable container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave the desired amount for a few minutes or place them in a baking dish and heat in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.
This dish is versatile and can be enjoyed as a leftover meal without compromising its delicious taste.
Tips for serving and storing Baked Shells with Gremolata:
- Serve the dish with a side salad or garlic bread to complement the flavors.
- For a touch of freshness, garnish with chopped parsley or a squeeze of lemon juice.
- When reheating, cover the dish with foil to prevent the cheese from browning too quickly.
- To prevent the pasta from drying out, add a splash of milk or cream before reheating.
In conclusion, the Savory Baked Shells with Gremolata recipe is a must-try for pasta lovers and comfort food enthusiasts. With its combination of creamy pasta, zesty gremolata sauce, and a variety of Italian seasonings, this dish is sure to satisfy your cravings for homemade, delicious meals. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or planning a special occasion, this recipe is versatile enough to impress.
The simplicity of the preparation process, coupled with the flavorful ingredients, makes this dish a winner in any kitchen. From boiling the pasta shells to assembling the dish and baking it to perfection, you’ll enjoy every step of the cooking journey. The result is a mouthwatering, cheesy, and comforting pasta delight that will have your family and guests coming back for seconds.
Don’t miss out on the chance to indulge in this delectable Baked Shells with Gremolata recipe. It’s the perfect example of how homemade cooking can bring warmth and joy to your weeknight meals. So grab your apron, follow the step-by-step instructions, and get ready to create a memorable dining experience that will leave everyone craving more.
Can I make this recipe without cheese?
Yes, if you prefer a dairy-free version, you can omit the cheese or use vegan cheese alternatives.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely! While the recipe calls for pasta shells, you can use any type of pasta that you have on hand.
Can I freeze this dish for later?
Yes, you can freeze the assembled dish before baking. When ready to serve, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then bake according to the instructions.
Can I add meat to this recipe?
Of course! If you’d like to add meat, you can mix in cooked ground beef, sausage, or diced chicken before baking.
How can I make the dish spicier?
To add some heat, you can include red pepper flakes or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper in the gremolata sauce or the cheese sauce.
Can I substitute whole milk with a non-dairy milk?
Yes, you can use almond milk, soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk as a substitute for whole milk in the recipe.