Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Broccoli-and-Cheese-Stuffed Pasta Shells

Broccoli and cheese are tasty companions and make a rich, creamy filling for pasta shells. Topped with a sweet and savory tomato sauce, this simple, easy-to-prepare dinner is loaded with warm, satisfying flavors. You won’t miss the meat.

Note: I used homemade tomato sauce because I still had some in the freezer from the summer crop. The recipes are below, but the quick marinara is really good too.

For the tomato sauce, see Slow-Cooker Heirloom Tomato Sauce or Slow-Cooker, Fresh-Tomato Marinara. For a quick marinara, check out Ground-Turkey-Stuffed Shells with Goat Cheese.

Serves 4-5

  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling dish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 6 oz broccoli florets, chopped (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup shredded provolone
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 1 cup fresh tomato sauce (or canned crushed tomatoes)
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, for serving
Broccoli Florets
Chopped Broccoli

  1. Cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling, salted water 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.
Broccoli Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Broccoli Mixture

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly oil an 11-X-7-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine the broccoli, cream cheese, provolone, and 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano in a medium bowl.
  3. Stuff each cooked pasta shell with about 2 tablespoons of the filling and set snugly side by side in the baking dish.
  4. Spoon the tomato sauce on top of the shells, not covering completely. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  5. Bake uncovered 30 minutes, until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Broccoli-Cheese Filling
Stuffed Shells
Shells Ready to Bake
Baked Shells

Divide the shells among 4-5 bowls and garnish with parsley. Serve hot.

Broccoli-and-Cheese-Stuffed Pasta Shells

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