Recipes

Seafood Stuffed Shells

Seafood Finds a New Home in These Stuffed Shells

by Daniel Gritzer    [Photographs: Vicky Wasik]                                                                                                                                                        

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I’m not sure how it is that I’d never fully realized it until recently, but many of the most famous Italian-American baked pasta dishes are…exactly the same. Manicotti, lasagna, baked ziti, stuffed shells. All. The. Same. Each one combines a type of pasta with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tomato sauce, and calls itself a unique dish. Of course, it’s a winning formula—there’s no argument about how delicious they all are—but you gotta admit, it gets a little tired after a while.

So let’s change it up.

Today, I’m again tackling shells. And I’m doing something that is fairly unusual, but also deeply, deeply obvious: I’m stuffing them with seafood.

Now, I have a weakness for shellfish, so I’ll acknowledge that I’m biased, but I’m just going to go out on a limb and say it anyway. Once you eat these shells, you won’t think about the ricotta-stuffed variety again.* Imagine: a dish of plump pasta shells, each one loaded with a rich mixture of crabmeat, shrimp, and scallops, baked in a creamy sauce, with buttery toasted bread crumbs on top.

* Okay, maybe you will, but will you be sure you aren’t thinking of manicotti instead?

It’s pretty easy to put the whole thing together. Start by making the filling, which combines crabmeat with diced poached shrimp and diced scallops. (You can also skip the scallops and just use an equal amount of additional shrimp; it’ll work either way.) Then stir in Dijon mustard, mayo, a dash of Old Bay, and both minced shallot and parsley.

 

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