Friday, January 2, 2009

Classic Baked Stuffed Shells

Here's another classic Italian dish that's simple to do and is always sure to impress. Everyone always thinks you went to a lot of trouble. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but not as much as you might think. And it's another 'go to' dish when you're not sure what your guests might like. Serve them with a big salad and some garlic bread and you're good to go!

1 box jumbo pasta shells
4 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus a little extra
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Joey's Favorite Marinara Sauce (or your favorite jarred sauce, or your own)

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shells and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander, rinse under cold running water, and set aside to drain again.
In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses, eggs, and chopped parsley. Using a spoon, stuff each of the shells with the ricotta mixture. Place the shells in a shallow baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the shells and sprinkle with a little extra mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with more chopped parsley, if desired.

For a delicious variation, reduce the amount of ricotta cheese by half and add a box of chopped spinach to the cheese mixture, then stuff the shells as usual.

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