Happy freezing cold Meatless Monday!
If most of you are off from work today (lucky!), this would be a great recipe to make for dinner. It’s relatively easy & extremely delicious!
I’ve been making these stuffed shells for years & feel like I finally perfected my recipe. The addition of the crushed red pepper adds a little kick to the sauce. The ricotta & mozzarella cheese filling is creamy and pairs nicely with the spicier sauce.
I recently toyed with adding nutmeg to my filling (based on tips from my cooking class I took a few months ago) & it tastes SO good. Totally making it this way from now on. You can always leave the nutmeg out & add some lemon if you prefer it that way, also super delicious.
This dish is perfect for this time of year as well. It made not be the healthiest Meatless Monday, but it’s perfect to make on a cold night when you are craving something hot. Paired with some crusty rustic Italian bread & a nice glass of wine- this is the perfect meal to make for a cozy night in.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ¾ tsp fine grain sea salt
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- 15 oz container ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ tsp fine grain sea salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 bunch chives, minced
- 20-25 jumbo dried pasta shells
- Oil a 13x9 baking pan and set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling & preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- When water comes to a boil, add in the shells & cook until al dente (about 8-10 minutes).
- Combine the olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt & garlic in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté for a minute or two- just until everything is fragrant (don’t let the garlic brown).
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil & oregano and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low & simmer sauce for about 10 minutes.
- To make the filling- combine the ricotta, egg, salt & nutmeg in a medium size bowl. Mix until combined & then stir in the mozzarella cheese and minced chives.
- Spread ⅓ of the sauce across the bottom of your oiled baking pan.
- Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture (about a heaping tablespoon for each shell) and assemble in a single layer in the baking pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.
- Cover with foil & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake for an additional 15 minutes until the shells are cooked through. Sprinkle with leftover minced chives & serve hot.