OK you must be thinking is she kidding Stuffed Shells? gotta be the most fattening food to eat , and it probably is outside of lasagna, baked ziti and the like. Super delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser, hearty, vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen. Perfect for holiday and family get togethers. My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese because who doesn’t love a lot of cheese. Ah , yes Stuffed Shells. I wouldn’t cook like this all the time, but once every blue moon no one is getting hurt, right? I served with a salad , no need for bread and butter here. Homemade Maple Syrup Salad Dressing ( see on blog) and it was really pretty awesome. Took a few hours to prepare, mostly because I made my own sauce ( Sunday night sauce) but feel free to use a jar of prepared sauce if you must. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.
Of course if you love it with meat you can make a meat sauce and follow same directions.
1 box Jumbo Shells ( you won’t use all but a lot of them break, etc.)
1 lb. Ricotta ( I used Part Skim)
1 egg–whole egg
1 lb. Mozzarella Shredded ( I used Part Skim) if you can obtain fresh mozzarella and shred it that would make it even better! whatever works for you
1 cup grated Parmesan ( any kind you like)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
*marinara sauce or any red sauce I made my own and use my own recipe. If buying sauce and there are some delicious good sauces out there, you’ll need at least 1 jar and maybe a 1 1/2 jars. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze the remainder. It’s nice to have a little extra sauce in case you need it when you re-heat the stuffed shells. Look on cookingwithcandi.com for Sunday Night Red Sauce (basic red sauce) for my go-to recipe for Red Sauce.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare Pasta , cook for between 12 and 15 minutes, you’ll want them soft but not undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool for easy handling.
Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, parsley and egg in a bowl. Taste for Salt and Pepper.
When shells have cooled down, fill them with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Top Shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and grated cheese. Place shells in very hot oven . You can turn on broiler for last few minutes , it should be slightly browned and bubbly. I cook covered with aluminum foil for first 15-20 minutes depending on the oven. Then I remove foil and place under broiler till browned and bubbly. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.
*a little tip–I lightly spray underside of aluminum foil with cooking spray so it doesn’t stick to cheese topping and cheese stays in baking dish when I remove aluminum foil. Try not to let aluminum foil stick to cheese top when you place it over dish. Spraying does help.