I always thought stuffed shells would be so difficult to make. Wrong! They came together much more quickly and easily than I had imagined–easier than lasagna, in my opinion. And the taste is so much like lasagna. And the presentation is prettier. I love lasagna, but sometimes it just looks like a big blob of cheese and sauce, you know? The shells, on the other hand, retain their shape and look fancy. Great option if you want to create a meal to impress.
- 1 pound box jumbo shells (I used Attilio brand, Conchiglioni #102 shells from the local Italian deli)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 pound sausage (or ground beef or ground turkey)
- 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 2 ounces goat cheese (optional…I added it because I had some left over in the fridge)
- 1-2 eggs (depending on how dry the ricotta is)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (I used 1/4 cup because I added the goat cheese to the original recipe)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh oregano
- 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh dried basil
- 1 1/2 tbsp. parsley
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- use your favorite jar of marinara sauce or make your own…I used a quart-sized jar of the Marcella Hazan recipe I love, which I’ll post below
- To make filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage/meat, breaking it into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add cooked sausage/meat; mix well.
- Cooking the pasta shells: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil, then add 1 1/2 tbsp. salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Drain.
- Stuffing the cooked shells: First, spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce, about 1/4 cup, on the bottom of a 9” x 13” dish. For filling the shells, you can either use a spoon to stuff them with the filling mixture, or you can pipe the filling into the shells. I used a piping bag filled with the meat/cheese mixture, held the shells in my hand, and piped the filling very quickly, easily, and neatly into each shell. (If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a ziploc bag instead.) Place stuffed shells, open side face up, into the 9” x 13” dish.
- Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, top with mozzarella and parmesan, cover with foil, and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, removing foil during last 10 minutes of cooking. (By the way, if you haven’t tried Reynolds nonstick aluminum foil, it works beautifully on dishes like this so the cheese topping won’t stick to the foil.)
SOURCE: Pink Parsley
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce
- 2 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
- 2/3 cup chopped carrots
- 2/3 cup chopped celery
- 2/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt
- pinch of sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil (I used 2 tbsp. instead)
- Wash tomatoes and cut them in half lengthwise.
- Cook in a covered non-reactive stockpot over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Add celery, carrots, onions, salt, and sugar.
- Cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food mill.
- Return to pot, add olive oil, and cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt if desired.
Note: Sauce can be frozen in canning jars or plastic freezer bags for several months.
SOURCE: Playin with My Food