Valentine’s Romance – Cosentino Style

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s that time of year again where expectations run high, time runs low, and everyone just seems to be…well, running. We at Cosentino invite you to slow down, skip the restaurant reservation, and spend a little time in the kitchen whipping up an unhurried dinner for your special someone.

This recipe hails from the Cosentino Wine Club (shameless plug) and although it was originally designed to pair with our 2010 Sangiovese (now sold out), it’s also divine with our 2011 The Franc or 2011 The Zin. Easy enough for a weeknight, it’s also tasty enough to say ti adoro with every bite. Buon appetito!

Ricotta & Fontina-Stuffed Shells with Fennel & Radiccio

INGREDIENTS

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 pounds fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
• medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
• 2 medium heads of radicchio
• 12 oz jumbo shells
• 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
• 1 ½ cups Italian Fontina cheese,
shredded
• ¼ cup chopped parsley
• ground black pepper and salt
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 3 cups marinara sauce

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter and oil. Add fennel and
onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
3. Add water as need to keep the vegetables from scorching. Add the radicchio and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes, adding water as
needed. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and let cool.
4. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the shells until al dente. Drain and cool under running water. Pat shells dry.
5. Fold the ricotta, 1 cup of the Fontina and the parsley into the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs.
6. In a separate bowl, mix the marinara sauce with the heavy cream. Pour 1 ½ cups into the 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Stuff each shell with a slightly round tablespoon of the filling and nestle the shells in the sauce as close together as possible. Drizzle 1 cup of the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Fontina.
7. Bake the shells for about 40 minutes, until golden. Let rest for 15 minutes. Warm the remaining sauce and serve on the side.

 

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