Stuffed Shells

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I’m surprised at how many people have not heard of stuffed shells in North Carolina and in Utah. I’m beginning to wonder if this is a north east thing. Growing up, our neighbors brought us stuffed shells every time my mom had a baby or something else happened that warranted a neighbor making a meal. These were also commonly served at weddings or other banquet style dinners. The point being, I never really thought of this dish as a “blog-worthy meal.” But, everyone seemed to enjoy these, so I thought I should give this recipe a shout out.

To be honest, this was the secondary meal on Superbowl Sunday. My husband made the sabudana vadas (previously posted) for me, my sister-in-law, and nephew, but we knew we would eat all of these ourselves before leaving for the Superbowl party. So, I made stuffed shells to take to the party. It’s cheese, pasta, and sauce, so there really isn’t any way that these won’t be a crowd pleaser. All of the kids at the party really liked them.

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For me, the stuffed shells seemed so underwhelming next to the sabudana vadas that Rajat had made earlier and the pakordas that our friend Mugdha made. But if you eat these under normal circumstances and not next to a bunch of delicious deep fried Indian goodies, these stuffed shells are delicious.


Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Barilla jumbo shells, boiled according to package directions (these should be cooked very al dente since they will be baked)
  • 15 oz container of good quality ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup grated parmesan, plus more for on top
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for on top (I left this out when I made it, but if you have it, add it)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 – 2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • chopped basil for garnish
  • 1 jar of good quality marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix the ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, parsley, salt, oregano, oil, and pepper in a mixing bowl until well combined. Taste to check for seasoning. Adjust to your taste.
  3. Coat the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish with a few tablespoons of sauce.
  4. Fill each shell with the cheese mixture and place in the pan. Continue until the pan is full or you run out of one of your ingredients. (Generally, my pan is full when I run out of ricotta, but I always have some leftover shells).
  5. Top the filled shells with the rest of the sauce. Top with some parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is browned and edges of pan are bubbly. I like my baked pasta to really get browned on top, so I often broil it for two minutes at the end.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Top with extra chopped parsley and some chopped basil.

 

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