Stuffed shells sounded like the perfect fall meal. I have only made these once before and it was a long time ago. I knew that I needed the perfect recipe so I turned to my favorite cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen. These were quite delicious and weren’t too hard to make, but they did take a little work. They made for a very fun and very yummy Friday night dinner.
Serves: 4 to 6 Time: 70 minutes
- 12-ounce box of jumbo pasta shells
- 22 ounces ricotta cheese (2 3/4 cups)
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 ounces mozzarella, shredded (3/4 cups)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4-6 cups tomato sauce (see below)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. While the water is heating, start the sauce (see recipe below). When the water is boiling, stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the shells. Cook, stirring often, until the shells are almost tender but still a little firm to the bite. Drain the shells, spread out over a baking sheet, and let cool.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the mozzarella, egg, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
- Spoon the filling into a zipper-lock bag, cut a hole in the corner of the bag, and squeeze gently from the top to pipe out the filling. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon filling into each shell. Arrange the filled pasta in an oiled 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the filled pasta. Wrap the dish tightly in foil and bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the ricotta filling is hot, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with the parsley and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Chunky Tomato Sauce
Makes: 6 cups Time: 25 minutes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.