Monday, December 12, 2011
Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells
I love baked pasta dishes- baked ziti, lasagna, stuffed shells, manicotti... you name it, I love it. My love is so deep that I can remember ordering stuffed shells at this local Italian restaurant every time we went as a child- they used to bake them in a ramekin- made it so much better. Note to self- must buy ramekins big enough for baked pasta dishes! The hubs, Mr. John (who is celebrating a birthday today- HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!), could live without it.
Whenever I make a baked pasta dish I try to find a way to make it more appealing to John- pesto being a sure bet. John ate a full plate of these and really enjoyed them which to me is the biggest compliment there is! I used a 15 ounce container of ricotta and it wasn't enough to fill a whole box of shells, so I modified the recipe to reflect how many shells I actually was able to make. We don't eat ground meat but you could always cook the pesto in with some ground beef or turkey and add that to the cheese mixture. We loved this and I'm so glad I froze a tray of these!
Source: Stephanie Cooks Original
25 jumbo shells, cooked according to packaging directions
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup pesto (a thicker pesto is recommended, but any pesto will work)
Salt and pepper
2 cups marinara sauce
Slices of mozzarella cheese
1-In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan, pesto, and egg. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
2- Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce.
3- Working with one shell at a time, spoon a few spoonfuls of filling into each shell. Pinch closed and set in the baking dish. Repeat until all shells are full. Pour the marinara over the top and layer the mozzarella cheese over the shells.
4- Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Freezer tip: Complete steps 2-3 in a freezer safe container. Cover and freeze, complete step 4 once you defrost it from the freezer.