Ricotta – Filled Stuffed Shells
with red marinara sauce
If you ask my boyfriend what his favorite dish in the entire world is, he will probably say stuffed shells. Out of everything I make and create in our kitchen, he will for sure always prefer and gravitate towards my pasta dishes, especially his favorite. The man can eat an entire pan of this alone – so that says a lot about how tasty it is!
The secret to this dish is simple. All the magic comes from the ricotta cheese filling. Instead of just using ricotta cheese like most recipes, I blend in mascarpone cheese for that extra silky smooth texture that is melt in your mouth delicious. For those of you who are not familiar with mascarpone, let me fill you in on its greatness. It is an Italian’s version of cream cheese that can be used in a savory or sweet manner and is beyond delightful.
There are many versions to this dish, some that include more or less cheese, but to me, you can never have too much cheese, especially when fresh burrata is involved. Fresh burrata is another magical cheese in my Italian arsenal that is made from mozzarella and cream. The outside being solid mozzarella and the inside being a blend of cream and stracciatella. The outcome is a creamy soft texture that melts like butter and adds even more yumminess when melted together with the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan Cheese that is used as a topping.
So spice up your dinner and add a little Italian zest to your night, with a pan of these ricotta-filled stuffed shells. A sure crowd pleaser that will keep’em coming back for more!
Ingredients: Yields 6 servings
- 1 lb. Conchiglie Pasta, Jumbo Shells
- 1 Container Burrata
- 1 ½ c. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- ½ c. Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- 16 oz. Ricotta Cheese, Whole Milk
- 8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
- ½. c. Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- ¼ c. Italian Parsley, finely chopped + 1 Tbsp. for Garnish
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- Salt/Pepper to taste
Red Marinara Sauce:
- 28 oz. (1 Can) Cento San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes
- 14 oz. (1/2 Can) Water
- 4.5 oz (1 Tube) Cento San Marzano Tomato Paste
- ½ Onion, finely chopped
- ¼ c. Fresh Basil, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water with 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a boil. Add all the shells and cook for half the cooking time on the package – do not over cook or noodles will not come out al dente when completely baked. Drain and rinse the noodles with cool water. Set aside.
- In a bowl mix together the Ricotta Stuffing ingredients until combined. Set aside.
- Prepare the marinara sauce by heating a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat the olive oil and add in the garlic and onion and sauté about 2 minutes once heated. Add in the tomatoes, water, and tomato paste. Mix together until combined and cooked for 10 minutes. Add the basil, oregano, sugar, and salt and pepper to the sauce. Once sauce comes to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes until flavors come together.
- To Assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with some of the sauce. Fill each half cooked shell with the ricotta cheese mixture and in the baking dish. Repeat until all the shells are filled. Top the shells with a thin layer of sauce. Add the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top, evenly along with the Parmesan cheese, and burrata.
- Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes (remove the tinfoil the last 15 minutes of baking) until the top is lightly brown and bubbling.
- When cooked – remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with the additional finely chopped parsley and extra sauce.