How To Cook Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells are a classic Italian dish that is sure to impress your friends and family. This delectable dish combines tender pasta shells filled with a delicious mixture of cheese, herbs, and other flavorful ingredients. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this step-by-step guide will help you master the art of cooking stuffed shells.
- 1 package of jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 cups of marinara sauce
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, beaten egg, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Using a tablespoon, carefully stuff each cooked pasta shell with the cheese mixture. Place the stuffed shells in a baking dish, making sure they are arranged in a single layer.
- Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, covering them completely.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the tops of the stuffed shells are golden brown.
- Once the stuffed shells are done baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Garnish with additional parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired, before serving.
Now that you know how to cook stuffed shells, you can enjoy this delicious dish any time you want. Whether it’s for a family gathering, a potluck, or just a cozy dinner at home, stuffed shells are a crowd-pleaser that will leave everyone satisfied. So roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to impress with your newfound stuffed shell cooking skills!
Can I use any type of pasta shells for stuffed shells?
While traditionally, jumbo pasta shells are used for stuffed shells, you can experiment with different sizes and shapes of pasta shells if you prefer. Just keep in mind that smaller shells may require less filling, and larger shells may require more cooking time.
What’s the best type of cheese to use for the filling?
The most commonly used cheese for stuffed shell filling is ricotta cheese, which has a creamy texture and mild taste. However, you can also use a combination of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan for a more flavorful filling. Feel free to get creative and try other cheeses like fontina or goat cheese for a unique twist.
Can I make the filling ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the stuffing for stuffed shells ahead of time. Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to assemble and bake the dish, give the filling a quick stir to ensure the ingredients are well combined.
Is it necessary to cook the pasta shells before stuffing them?
Yes, it is important to cook the pasta shells before stuffing them. Cooking the shells until they are al dente, or slightly firm, will make them easier to handle and prevent them from becoming mushy when baked. Follow the instructions on the pasta package for cooking time and don’t forget to generously salt the boiling water.
Can I freeze stuffed shells?
Yes, stuffed shells can be frozen for later use. After assembling the dish, cover it tightly with foil and place it in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy the stuffed shells, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before baking according to the recipe’s instructions. Keep in mind that freezing may slightly affect the texture, but the flavors will still be delicious.
What sauces go well with stuffed shells?
Stuffed shells pair well with a variety of sauces. The most popular choice is marinara sauce, but you can also try creamy Alfredo sauce, a meaty Bolognese sauce, or even a pesto sauce for a vibrant twist. Feel free to experiment and find your favorite combination of stuffed shells and sauce.
Can I add vegetables or meat to the filling?
Absolutely! Adding vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, or roasted bell peppers to the filling can add extra flavor and nutrients. If you prefer a meaty filling, you can incorporate ground beef, sausage, or shredded chicken. Just make sure to cook the vegetables or meat before adding them to the filling to ensure they are fully cooked during the baking process.