A few nights ago, we had really nothing to eat for dinner, so I threw together ingredients pulled from our pantry to make a lovely tomato sauce we had over spaghetti. We had a ton leftover, so we made a second meal out of it. This recipe is based off what you can find on the package of jumbo pasta shells, I only changed a few things. A simple recipe to prepare, the hardest part is filling the shells, only because it can get a tad messy until you get the hang of it. It is a somewhat heavy, rich dish, so be sure to have a nice big salad to go with it, and maybe some bread. A serving size would be 3-4 shells per person, so this will easily feed a family of 6 with maybe some leftovers.
You can use a jar pasta sauce for quick prep, or use a leftover spaghetti sauce. You can purchase fresh ricotta cheese, but we had cottage cheese on hand, so I just ran it through my mini blender to achieve a similar consistency. Be sure you don’t overcook the shells – you want them to still have a little chew to them. They’ll finish the cooking process in the oven.
- 9 oz Jumbo Pasta Shells (¾ of a 12 oz box, about 30 shells)
- 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce, or homemade sauce
- 1 ½ cups cottage cheese, buzzed in a blender (or fresh ricotta)
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella, shredded
- 8 ounces cream cheese (or marscapone)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced (or a couple teaspoons dried)
- 1 Tb fresh basil, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 eggs
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cook pasta shells in salted water for about 9 minutes. Drain and cool on a tray so they don’t stick together.
- Mix together the cottage cheese (or ricotta), cream cheese, half the parmesan, half the mozzarella, parsley, basil, and some ground pepper to taste. (I didn’t add any salt, but you might prefer it).
- Fill the shells with cheese mixture. They’ll be rather stuffed.
- Put half the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Stir in 1-2 Tb of water. Nestle in the shelves in an even layer. Top with the rest of the sauce, then the remaining cheese
- Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browning, and sauce is bubbling.