When it comes to comfort food, cheesy stuffed shells reign supreme. This dish is a symphony of flavors and textures, bringing together creamy ricotta, melty mozzarella, and tangy Parmesan to create a delectable filling that’s as comforting as a warm embrace. The best part? You probably have most of these ingredients already in your kitchen, making it a convenient option for whipping up a satisfying meal without the fuss.
A Recipe That’s Yours to Personalize
One of the beauties of this stuffed shells recipe is its versatility. While the classic version is nothing short of fantastic, you can easily put your own spin on it by incorporating your favorite ingredients. Think spinach, ground meat, or even a touch of herbs for an extra layer of flavor. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to create a dish that perfectly suits your taste buds.
How to Prepare Stuffed Shells: A Step-by-Step Guide
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to make this delightful dish. In just a matter of minutes, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a cheesy masterpiece that will have your loved ones begging for seconds.
Cook the Shells : Start by cooking the jumbo pasta shells until they’re perfectly al dente, around 8 to 10 minutes. This step sets the foundation for your stuffed shells, ensuring they’re tender yet firm enough to hold the cheesy goodness inside.
Create the Filling: The heart of this recipe lies in the creamy filling. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan, beaten eggs, dried parsley, salt, and ground black pepper. Mix until the ingredients meld into a luscious and flavorful filling that’s ready to take center stage.
Prepare the Sauce: The sauce is the magic that ties everything together. In another bowl, combine your favorite pasta sauce with sliced fresh mushrooms. Add more mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses to create a rich and savory sauce that perfectly complements the stuffed shells.
Stuff and Bake: Now comes the fun part – stuffing the shells! Carefully fill each shell with the ricotta mixture, arranging them in a baking dish as you go. Once all the shells are nestled in, generously pour the pasta sauce mixture over them. This is where the flavors meld, creating a harmonious balance of cheesy and saucy goodness.
Can You Make Stuffed Shells Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! Stuffed shells are a fantastic make-ahead option. Assemble them in a baking dish, cover with foil, and refrigerate for up to two days. When you’re ready, bake as directed, allowing for a few extra minutes to accommodate the chilled state.
What to Serve with Stuffed Shells?
Pair your stuffed shells with lighter sides like Caesar salad or roasted vegetables. The dish also sings in harmony with buttered Italian bread or garlic knots, adding a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of the stuffed shells.
How to Store and Reheat Stuffed Shells?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in the microwave for a quick and satisfying meal.
Can You Freeze Stuffed Shells?
Both baked and unbaked stuffed shells can be frozen. For baked shells, use an airtight container or freezer bag and thaw in the fridge overnight. Unbaked shells can be assembled, wrapped in layers of storage wrap and foil, and frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge before baking as usual.
How Long to Bake Stuffed Shells?
Bake the stuffed shells in a preheated oven at 350°F until the edges are bubbly and the shells are slightly set. This typically takes around 35 to 60 minutes, creating a beautiful golden-brown finish that’s oh-so-inviting.
How to Customize the Recipe?
Feel free to experiment with the filling by adding ingredients like spinach, ground meat, or fresh herbs. Get creative and make this recipe truly your own!
- 1 12 ounce package jumbo pasta shells
- 1 32 ounce container ricotta cheese
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 28 ounce jar pasta sauce
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender yet firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, mix ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
- Combine pasta sauce and mushrooms in a medium bowl. Add remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; stir until well combined.
- Stuff shells with ricotta mixture and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour pasta sauce mixture over the shells.
- Bake in the preheated oven until edges are bubbly and the shells are slightly set, 35 to 60 minutes.
- Serve hot and enjoy!