July 18th, 2006

being a model

Stuffed Pasta Shells and my experience cooking them

The second time in the kitchen was also a success. I made stuffed pasta shells (or whatever they're called) this time. Let's just say that I understand why I haven't eaten them in so long.

The recipe made it look easy. After all, all you had to do was boil the shells, make the sauce, stuff the shells, and cook the sauced-up stuffed shells, right? Wrong.

Luckily, I was smart enough to make the cheese stuffing (ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella) before doing anything else. I started this around 3:30, and all went well. The only thing remotely time-consuming was the grating of the parmesan cheese. After I finished, I put the stuffing in the refrigerator so I could move on.

Then I poured the sauce in a pot and remembered that I had some meat to put in the sauce. Since Mum hadn't put a pan out for me, I had to dig for one. After that I got the meat out its package, successfully managing to spill the juice on me in the process. (Oh dear... I really didn't mean it to sound like that.) So I dumped the meat in the pan, turned the eye up, and washed my hands to get the juice off. I was too hurried to dry my hands, so I just grabbed a stirrer and started to break up the meat.

Big misteak mistake. My hands were so wet that the water splashed in the pan. Grah. Anyway, after the meat was browned, I drained it, mixed it with the sauce, and left the sauce alone to cook. Now it was time to brave the shells. I filled a huge pot with water, poured in some olive oil, and got to work. I boiled them in shifts, then reboiled if they hardened again while I let them cool.

Then it was time to stuff the shells. I did this while the shells were continuing to boil (and because I rock at multitasking). I spread a layer of sauce at the bottom of a huge pan and got to work with the shell-stuffing. Mum came in around 5:00 (note that I've been working on this for an hour and a half now!) while I was stuffing a particularly stubborn shell. With a little help from her, we managed to fit all the shells on one pan. I still lots of stuffing left, though.

"Ooh!" I said. "I'll put it on top of the shells!" So that's what I did after a healthy coat of sauce. The random glops of stuffing atop the red sauce looked like snow on Mars. Then I popped my shells in the oven and started to shred some more parmesan cheese. Thirty-five minutes later I added the cheese so it could melt. By this point, Jeffrey was asking me how much longer he would have to wait. Keep in mind that earlier today he was thinking that I couldn't cook (he wasn't there when I fixed the soup). I told him about five minutes, so he headed for the shower.

A few minutes later, I took out the shells, popped the garlic bread in the oven, and fixed the salads. Then voilà! Dinner. Jeffrey ate his words too and actually confessed that the shells were good.

By the way, I still have tons of shells left. I guess I know what's for lunch tomorrow.

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