1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined and cleaned
1 16 ounce box of jumbo pasta shells
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/ 4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 / 2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup half and half
1/ 4 to 1/ 2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside on wax paper till
needed. Cut shrimp into smaller pieces.
2. In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil. Add garlic and cook a few minutes, add shrimp.
Add oregano, parsley, basil and white wine. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Stir often. Sprinkle in bread crumbs
by the handful until mixture thickens into a nice stuffing consistency.
3. Put the still warm pasta shell in your hand and add about a tablespoonful of shrimp stuffing. Place the stuffed
shell into an oven baking dish. You should get 22 to 28 shells.
4. In the meantime, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Add the grated cheese by starting with a 1/ 4
cup of grated cheese; add more if needed to make the consistency of what you would use to make the same as a white
sauce. Add half and half slowly while continually stirring to blend. Sauce will be smooth and thin. Don’t
worry; it thickens the longer it sits.
5. Pour sauce over shells and serve immediately
6. ENJOY – White shells from the sea to your table!
Christmas Eve is the night of the fishes.
For years, on Christmas Eve, my Uncle Dom would treat our family to dinner at different Italian restaurants. It became our tradition to start dinner at 5:00 with a smattering of fish appetizers, work our way through some wonderful fish entrees, pursue lots of conversation and hand gesturing, and wrap up our night with hugs and kisses four hours later. Unfortunately, my uncle passed away in 2003 and even though my brother and I tried to continue the tradition with our families, it just wasn’t the same without Uncle Dom. However, my husband and I continued to take our family out each Christmas Eve up until this past year. As our family continued to grow, the cost of an evening out simply exceeded our budget. Not to let that stop us, we decided to begin a new tradition, starting with Christmas Eve dinner in our home.
This did not go over so well with the kids for whom this tradition was all they knew and very much enjoyed. My husband, Tom, is a good cook as I have mentioned before. We understood that replicating our traditional Christmas Eve dinner would be a major undertaking, but I knew we were up for the challenge!
It’s all about preparation and organization. About 4 days before Christmas Eve, I prepared a big pot of sauce. The day before Christmas Eve, I made manicotti, a cheesecake, and set the table. My husband took care of purchasing more than $200 worth of fish such as mussels, scallops, tilapia, calamari, and shrimp. I also prepared a small roast beef for anyone who didn’t want fish. A platter of antipasti and chips and dip also rounded out the menu, much to the delight of our grandkids.
Years ago, I used to make my featured recipe, Shrimp Stuffed Shells. The chef, Tom, allowed me to make one fish dish this year and this was it. It became the first course and it was a huge hit. Everyone was impressed by the presentation as much as the delicious taste. Because I hate to waste anything, I decided to serve some of the leftover plain shells with some extra white sauce I had. My granddaughter, Mackenzie, really liked the unstuffed shells with the white sauce and an extra helping.
Shrimp Stuffed Shells can be served as a first or even as a main course and are great to serve any “eve”, not just Christmas Eve, when you want to impress your guests. Who needs to go out to a fancy, pricey restaurant when you can serve a very special meal at a less painful pricetag!