Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ricotta-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells

This recipe makes two 13" x 9" pans of stuffed jumbo pasta shells. 

That's a lot of pasta. 

But, you can...

1) Halve the recipe,
2) Invite another family over for supper,
3) Take supper to a friend, or
4) Freeze one for later. 

Options.  I like them.  

This is just like making lasagna, only with a different kind of pasta. 

Try not to run away because of the lengthy ingredient list. 

It's worth it!

Ricotta-Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells
(Makes two 13x9" pans)

1 15-ounce package Jumbo Pasta Shells, cooked according to directions

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (or 4 teaspoons)
2 pounds lean ground beef or bison (or turkey or chicken)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 28-ounce jar marinara sauce (for this recipe I used Organic Ragu "Traditional Original")
1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes (including liquid)

Ricotta Filling
3 cups (24 ounces) ricotta cheese
2 cups (16 ounces) cottage cheese
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cheese Topping
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (per each 13 x 9 pan)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (per each 13 x 9 pan)

To Prepare:
Cook the jumbo shells according to package directions while you are preparing the sauce.  Once the jumbo shells are cooked, drain into a colander and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion for 6-7 minutes until translucent, stirring often.  Add the garlic and continue to saute for 4-5 minutes. 

Add ground meat and cook until brown, stirring often.  (I like to use a potato masher to break up the large clumps of meat to ensure even cooking.)

Add salt, oregano and parsley.  Stir well.

Add the jar of marinara sauce and the can of tomatoes.  Use the potato masher or the back of a large spoon to mash the tomatoes.

Cover skillet and let the sauce simmer while you prepare the filling.

Ricotta Filling
Mix together ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, 2 beaten eggs, the salt and pepper, and the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. 

Grease the bottom of the 13 x 9 baking dishes with a little olive oil. 

Ladle about a 1-2 cups of sauce in the bottom of each baking dish.

Fill shells with the ricotta cheese mixture (I used about 2 tablespoons per shell) and set shells on top of sauce in dish.  (You'll end up with about 20 filled shells per baking dish.)

Ladle about 1-2 cups of sauce over the filled shells, and sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  (You might have sauce left over....or you can really drench the shells...your choice.)

Cover pans with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly. 


Anjie said...

is this what we had? yummy!!