Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

When my mom and I were trying to decide what to make for my sister's birthday party, we couldn't agree on anything!  She wanted to cater Mexican food, I wanted to do a salad bar... but none of these options felt right.  So the day before the party (I know... not the smoothest party planners), we stuck with our Italian roots and compromised on our go-to Ricotta Stuffed Shells.  It's delicious (I mean.. who doesn't love pasta, cheese and sauce?), comforting and helps us remember who we are and where we came from.  In fact, this meal encouraged a family visit to the cemetery... but that's another story for another time. 

These giant pasta shells (no time to find GF ones the day before the party) are stuffed with a ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese filling, smothered with homemade marinara sauce and topped with more oozing mozzarella.  A winner every time. 

What you'll need:  serves 8-10

4 - 5 cups marinara sauce (sorry can't spill the family beans on this one)
1 box of large pasta shells (36 shells) or 1 box of GF Tinkyada grand shells


2 (15 oz) containers whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
3 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese + 1/2 cup for topping

Cook the large shells in a big pot of boiling water, until al dente. Drain and set aside.  For the filling, mix together the ricotta cheese, parmesan, 2 cups mozzarella, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.  In a large baking dish, pour in a thin bottom layer of marinara sauce.  Stuff each shell with about 2 tbsp of filling.  Place the stuffed shells on the layer of marinara sauce side by side until you're done.  Then pour on the rest of the marinara sauce.  Sprinkle the top with the 1/2 cup remaining mozzarella cheese and bake in a 350 degrees oven for about 25 mins or until the filling is warmed through and the cheese is completely melted. 

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