Sunday, October 7, 2012

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

This is comfort food at its best.  It is warm, creamy, and completely satisfying.  I don't think you could ever find a living soul that didn't fall in love with this simple recipe.  It is easy enough for a weeknight, but also special enough to serve at a dinner party.  It fills your house with the beautiful scents of Italy, making every tummy aching for dinner time.  My family loves these stuffed shells.  Like really loves them.  They are seriously delicious!  

This recipe doubles and triples easy, so make an extra tray to throw in your freezer for dinner another night. Or even better, to take to a friend that has just had a baby or is recovering from surgery.  Everyone will thank you.  

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

For the Cheese Filling
1 1/2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, Asiago, or fotinella cheese
1 generous cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
6 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Stir together everything but the egg in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then add the egg. Combine well and set aside.

For the Pasta Shells
8 oz, Jumbo Pasta Shell Noodles, cooked al dente and cooled enough to handle
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook pasta shells for about half of the cooking time, to very al dente, being careful not to overcook.  Rinse in cold water and set aside.  Spread 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.

Fill each shells with 2 Tablespoons of cheese filling and place on top of the sauced dish.  Repeat filling the shells until all of the mixture is gone.  Top shells with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and cheese is melty.

Serve with nice crusty bread and a crisp salad.

*cheese filling adapted from The Joy of Cooking

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