Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stuffed Shells with Lee's marinara and homemade ricotta

It's been a while since I posted on my blog. So long, in fact, that I wonder if I have any followers left. When I began my blog I vowed to myself that I wanted it to be fun and if it began to feel like "work" I would hang back a bit.  I suppose that is exactly what happened.

The world of blogging has exploded since I started and frankly my dear, I have no desire to jump into that pool and try to compete with the big fish! I'm truly quite happy with simply making my little dishes and sharing them here for whomever wants to take a look. 

That said, I made a stuffed shells concoction the other night that was delicious and so here I am, once again, sharing it with anyone who wants to know about it. I hope you give it a try. The inspiration came from the back of the Barilla shells box, but I changed a couple of things.

I made it with Lee's "Marry Me Marinara" (a marinara recipe I came up with that has become Lee's favorite, and mine too). Plus, I used Ina Garten's homemade ricotta. Both recipes can be found here on my blog but you can use store bought if you want....however, the result won't be as good. Just sayin.

If you are going to make the ricotta (which is as easy as boiling water), do it one day in advance). You can make the marinara the day of.


1/2 box (12 oz) Jumbo Shells (I used Barilla brand)
4 C marinara sauce
1 1/3 C fresh ricotta
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 clove finely chopped fresh garlic
4 TBL total of chopped parsley and basil
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what to do~

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the shells for 9 minutes. Drain and then cool the shells on a sheet pan.

3. Mix together the ricotta, mascarpone, half the Parmesan, garlic, parsley and basil, salt and pepper. Fill the shells with this mixture.

4. Spray with Pam (or grease however you like) a 9X13 baking dish; add enough marinara to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. Arrange the shells (opening facing up) in the pan and cover with the remaining sauce, and remaining Parmesan.  (Here's the truth of it - IF I'd had some grated mozarella, I'd have slathered it with that before baking, but I didn't have any. If you want to do that, we all know there's nothing more satisfying that pasta stuffed with cheese, covered with marinara and slathered with mozzarella. I say go for it).

5. Bake for 30 minutes.

I was planning on giving this a sprinkle of a bit of chopped parsley before serving, but I simply forgot!  Enjoy.