Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

I can't believe it's been over two months since I last posted a recipe. All I can say is that Mommyhood and the holidays combined to steal most of my free time.

Anyway, I have a new dinner recipe for you today. It's easy as can be, with hands-on time hovering around the 30-minute mark. They look a lot harder than they are and will impress your guests.

Here's what to do.

Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • 1 box Jumbo shells
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained*
  • 12 ounce can tomato paste*
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, or 2 cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth (use vegetable broth or water for vegetarian option)
*If preferred, use one 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes in puree and one 6-ounce can tomato paste, and increase amount of chicken broth to a full cup.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, and chicken broth (start with a half cup of broth and add more later as needed if the sauce seems too thick for your taste). Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until hot. Adjust seasoning to taste.

While the sauce is cooking, bring a 4-quart saucepan of water to a boil, adding a pinch of salt. Boil the shells for 9 minutes, then drain and arrange on a cookie sheet to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combing the ricotta, half the mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, salt and pepper, and parsley. Mix well, and transfer to a zipper-topped bag. Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes, or until ready to be used.

Snip one corner of the bag and carefully squeeze the cheese mixture into the shells. Don't worry about filling them to capacity or being neat, just do the best you can. Arrange the shells in a greased baking dish, overlapping if necessary.

Spoon the sauce over the shells to completely cover them. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella generously over the top (use more than a half cup if you like things really cheesy). Cover with foil and bake on 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.

That's it! Mangia!

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