Saturday and Whole Foods are the only two words that will make Chris get out of his comfy sweatpants and brave the crowds with me to grocery shop. Whole Foods will have tons of samples out, I guess making his trip more enjoyable (and mine too! Who am I kidding?). Last year, they had this interesting Gouda titled, “Winter Gouda.” I didn’t need to know what was in it, I was already intrigued. The cheese was a salty and mellow Gouda, studded with flecks of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. The combination was out of this world! It also inspired me to take those flavors to the next level. What could be better than a beef and tomato stuffed shell, bathing in a glorious spiced Gouda sauce? Not much. This recipe might be for a little more than two people but no one hates the idea of easy leftovers! Winter Stuffed Shells is warm, comforting with a spicy edge, and something you probably don’t normally have on your menu.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes.
Add milk and heavy cream to the roux and stir with a wooden spoon until sauce thickens, about 5-8 minutes.
Stir in salt, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Taste for seasoning.
Decrease heat to Low and add grated cheeses and stir until melted. Pour sauce into a small baking dish. I used a 2 quart dish. You want something small enough so the shells sink into the sauce. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
Season beef with the salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Add olive oil to a medium size skillet and heat over medium high heat. Brown ground beef in a medium skillet.
As the beef browns, cook pasta shells according to their box directions and cook them to Al Dente. Drain the shells, toss with a little drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.
Once the beef is browned, add garlic and tomato paste to the skillet. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
Add red wine or water, artichokes, and parsley. Stir mixture for another minute. Remove from heat.
Fill each pasta shell with about 2 tbsp of beef mixture.
Place shells, open side up, on top of the cheese sauce. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle parsley for garnish, and serve immediately.