Gluten Free Stuffed Shells

This meal has been on my bucket list for a while.  It was a few hours in the making, but worth every minute and a great thing to make on a Sunday afternoon.  The veal and zucchini stuffing has a nice pop of flavor!

The gluten free shells are delicate and prone to breakage, so be sure to cook a few more than needed just in case!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 small zucchini, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • fresh ground pepper, about 6 grinds
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • splash of white wine (about 1/4 cup)
  • 8 oz. ground veal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 oz. Italian cold cuts of choice (about 3 slices)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. parmesan cheese plus more for topping and serving
  • 4 oz. gluten free pasta shells (about 30 shells)
  • cooking spray
  • 15 oz. marinara sauce, homemade or purchased
  • fresh basil and Italian parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Use an electric chopper to process the onion, zucchini and garlic to a fine mince.  Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a stainless-steel skillet, add the minced vegetables and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

Stir frequently and cook down until reduced by half.  Add a splash of white wine and continue stirring until most of it has evaporated.  Remove from pan and place in a colander to drain and cool.

Wipe the pan clean, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown the veal, breaking it up with a spatula.  Season with more salt and pepper.

Mince the cold cuts and add to the veal.  You can use prosciutto, pancetta or whatever you have on hand.  I happened to have a few slices of Italian Salame left over from an antipasto, and it really made the flavor pop!

Continue stirring frequently until most of the liquid cooks off, then add the browned meat to the colander to drain.

In a clean bowl, whisk 1/2 cup ricotta cheese with 1 tbsp. grated parmesan.  Stir in the veal mixture.

Cook the shells according to package directions, stirring gently so they don’t break.  Drain in a colander.

Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray and spread one ladle of sauce on the bottom.  Arrange the shells in the pan, then fill them with stuffing.

Spoon a little more sauce over the filled shells, and sprinkle with more grated parmesan.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350º.

After 30 minutes, use tongs to carefully remove the foil.  Broil on low for 5 minutes.  Garnish with fresh parsley and basil.  Serve with extra sauce and grated cheese.

Notes ♪♫ It wasn’t easy finding these gluten free pasta shells from Farabella.  Currently out of stock on Amazon, I was lucky to spot them at a local shop.  If you can’t get them where you live or you can’t have corn pasta, these Brown Rice Pasta Shells from Tinkyada are a good stand-in.

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