At some point during my college career, I learned to make this dish. It was my go to dish when I wanted to impress a boy and make him think that I was a great cook. I like to think that it worked well. It’s all about confidence.
Since college, I’ve made these stuffed shells approximately 108 times. It’s that dish that I can whip up in no time and without the need for a recipe. All it requires is throwing a few ingredients into a pasta shell, coating it with cheese, and baking it. Easy enough, right?
Well, regardless, I’m here to give you my recipe for stuffed shells. This recipe has transformed a bit over time and I make it slightly different each time. For example: it wasn’t until I met my husband that I added Italian sausage to the filling. A dish isn’t a meal if it doesn’t have meat in it, according to him. I’ve learned my lesson on that one many times. Meatless Monday will never be a thing in our household. I’m okay with that.
I digress. Let’s get cookin’!
While the water for our noodles boils, I cut up the sausage into small pieces and throw it in a skillet over medium heat.
Once the water is boiling, throw in the noodles and cook them according to the directions. Mine took about 20 minutes.
Continue cooking your sausage while working to get the sausage as ground as possible. You want the chunks to end up rather small. Once cooked completely, strain and let cool.
Once the noodles are done, strain them and lay them out on a plate so that they don’t stick to each other and so that they will cool faster. I’ve burned my hands one too many times trying to handle these hot noodles.
While our noodles are cooling, we’ll prepare the rest.
After we chiffonade the basil and cut the mozzarella into small cubes, we’ll make the filling.
In a large bowl, combine the Ricotta, mozzarella, egg, basil, and salt & pepper. Once thoroughly combined, add the sausage and stir.
Next we cover the bottom of a casserole dish with spaghetti sauce and set out to fill our shells.
Fill each shell with approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of filling. The amount that you use doesn’t really matter. I used to fill mine as much as possible. Now I go for a good moderate amount of filling per shell.
Place the shells in the dish neatly and cover with the remaining pasta sauce and a thin layer of Parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. and ENJOY!
These are SO good and I always end up with a decent portion of leftovers (with no complaints).
1 box jumbo pasta shells
1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage (or hot sausage)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
32 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
~2 tablespoons fresh basil, Chiffonade
1 large egg
Salt & pepper to taste
3 ounces of Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1) Cook pasta shells according to directions (approximately 20 minutes in boiling water).
2) Chop up sausage rather small and cook on medium heat while you continue to poke at the meat and make it as ground as possible. Once done, strain and let cool.
3) Once the noodles are done, lay them out on a plate to cool.
4) Make filling by combining ricotta, diced mozzarella, egg, basil, and salt & pepper. Once thoroughly combined, add the sausage and stir.
5) Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with spaghetti sauce.
6) Fill each shell with ~1 heaping tablespoon of filling and place in the dish neatly and cover with the remaining pasta sauce and a thin layer of Parmesan cheese.
7) Bake for ~25 minutes. Let cool for a minute and ENJOY!!
Oops. How’d this picture get in there?? :D