I combined two of my favorite “special occasion” type meals into one! Paella definitely isn’t something I make for dinner on a random night, it’s more of a dish I’d make for a special occasion or holiday. Same goes for stuffed shells. Even though they are super easy to make, they just seem more of like a treat or special kind of meal..you know what I mean?
I want to dive headfirst into this pan. I can’t decide what I love the most about it!
Pasta always has my heart, but the paella “spin” on this makes it extra special.
I added chorizo and sautéed shrimp to the ricotta mixture, and I added saffron and smoked paprika to the tomato sauce to give it a Spanish flair! Oh and peas too. Because I love peas in my paella. And I love peas in general. They’re so underrated, in my opinion.
Instead of using straight mozzarella and parm like you’d use in traditional stuffed shells, I added manchego! If you’ve never tried it, it’s a Spanish cheese that is SO delicious..kind of similar to parmesan or asiago, but milder. I love it!
I also kept the fresh mozzarella, because I can’t make a baked pasta without it!
If you’ve ever been intimidated by making paella or stuffed shells, you can totally do it. This recipe is SO simple and super flavorful, and you could even prepare it ahead of time and bake it when ready! It would probably work as a freezer meal too.
This is special enough that you could even make it for a holiday dinner!
The saffron and paprika in the sauce just give it that extra “what is that?” flavor and the chorizo and shrimp in the shells give this dish SO much flavor too, without any effort. I loveeee sausage and seafood together.
I need to make more things with that combo.
You should totally make this if you need a break from cookies. I know I will soon!
Paella Stuffed Shells with Shrimp, Chorizo, and Saffron Tomato Sauce
These paella stuffed shells are a fun spin on a classic! Stuffed with chorizo and shrimp, topped with manchego, and baked in a saffron tomato sauce!
- 18 jumbo shells, cooked just shy of al dente*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 pinches saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into small pieces
- 2 links fresh chorizo, casing removed*
- 8 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 16 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated manchego, divided, plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
- freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving
Preheat oven to 375℉.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, saffron, smoked paprika, and Italian seasoning and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat. In the last few minutes of cooking, stir in the peas to heat through. Remove from heat and set aside. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the sauce is simmering, make the filling. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook for 3-5 minutes, breaking it up with your spatula into small pieces, until golden brown. Add the shrimp and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.
Once sausage and shrimp mixture has cooled for a few minutes, transfer to a bowl and add the ricotta, half of the manchego, and half of the parsley. Stir to combine.
Place several spoonfuls of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and smooth it out to cover the bottom of the dish. Fill each shell generously with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish. Once all shells have been filled, drizzle several spoonfuls of the tomato sauce over the shells (you will have some extra), then finish with the slices of mozzarella and the remaining manchego.
Bake for 30 minutes, then switch your oven to broil. Remove the shells from the oven and once broiler has preheated, place the shells back into the oven and broil for a few minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Serve with extra grated manchego, parmesan, and chopped parsley, and extra sauce too if you want!
*I cooked the shells for 8-9 minutes, which is just shy of al dente
*You can usually find fresh chorizo in casing behind the butcher counter in the meat case, or ground with all of the other sausage. If you can't find the fresh version, they usually sell it pre-cooked. In that case, chop it up small and follow the recipe as directed.
*You will have some extra tomato sauce. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week!