Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells
This was one of my favorite meals when I was a kid. It was an added bonus that I got to eat the leftover shells. This is usually the meal I make and take to friends, because it freezes nicely and is easy to heat up. It also helps that it is delicious. I also think it is a perfect meatless meal for Lent.
You can use your own tomato sauce or even jarred tomato sauce with the shells.  I use my vodka tomato sauce: ( (I usually double the recipe)

Ricotta Stuffed Shells
12 oz. (340 g) Box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
2 Large Eggs
32 oz. (907 g) Ricotta Cheese
16 oz. (454) Mozzarella Cheese, Grated, Divided
8 oz. (227 g) Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
1 Tbsp of (One of the Following) Parsley, Basil, or Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper, to Taste (I use about a teaspoon of each)
28 oz. (794 g) to 32 oz. (907 g) of Tomato Sauce

Cook the shells in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat two eggs and add the ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese, the dried herbs, salt and pepper.
Cheese mixture
Place 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of two 9x9 pans (22cm x 22cm) (or one cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan (23cm x 33cm)).
The assembly line is ready
Fill the shells with the cheese mixture and place in pan(s).
Filling the shells
Repeat until all shells are filled or you run out of the cheese mixture.
Out of room and cheese
 Top with remaining tomato sauce and then the remaining cheeses. Bake in a 350F /180C/ Gas Mark 4 oven for 30 minutes.
Ready for the oven
 I like to make one and freeze one. If you freeze one to prepare just defrost and bake at 350F /180C/ Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes.
The bottom line- Will I make these again? Yes! I love this recipe. By changing the spices or the tomato sauce you change the final dish. You can also control the fat and calories in the dish by using egg substitute, low fat ricotta cheese and low fat mozzarella cheese. If you really want to be healthy you can omit the cheese on top of the sauce. It is still good (just not as good).

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