March 08, 2010

A Family Favorite

It's the dish that always bring a smile to the faces of children and grownups alike. Classic and comforting, the perfect meal to end any sort of day. Stuffed Ricotta Shells with Marinara. Simple. Completely void of elegance; this humble dish delivers a big impact!

Creamy, savory, a touch of spice...I'd bet money even your pickiest eaters will ask for seconds!

Stuffed Ricotta Shells

1 Tb. olive oil
20 jumbo pasta shells (half a 12 oz. box)
1 pinch of crushed pepper flakes
3 cups homemade marinara (or one large jar)
1 15 oz. container of ricotta cheese
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 Tb. chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½-1 cup mozzarella cheese

If making your own marinara, follow the instructions below. Add 1 pinch of crushed red pepper to the homemade or jarred sauce.

Lightly oil or spray a 9X13 pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350*. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Partially cook pasta shells in water—4-6 minutes. Strain the shells and lay on the pan.

Mix the ricotta, parmesan, egg, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Fill each shell with 1-2 Tb. of the cheese mixture.

Spoon the sauce on and around the shells. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden—about 25 minutes. Serves 4-5.

*I like to make this marinara in double and triple batches. Then I freeze some and pull it out when I need it!

Basic Marinara
2 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb. fresh chopped thyme (2 tsp. dried)
½ carrot, finely grated
1 28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper

In a medium sauce pan; heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots, saute for 8-10 minutes. Then add the garlic and thyme and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook another 20 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 3 cups.

Stuffed shells are easy to freeze--make a double batch and wrap some up for next week!


  1. I love stuffed shells! They remind me of good home cookin'. :)

  2. I just made stuffed shells a week ago, but with jarred sauce. I'm going to try this home made sauce next time - it sounds great!

  3. Yum these look and sound great, thanks for the recipe.

  4. Stuffed shells are so good - Brian could eat a whole baking dish full. I haven't made them in so long...I will have to correct this and try your recipe!

  5. Hiya! I just recently came upon this blog while searching for something on I just wanted to add that I recently made the recipe that is on the back of the Ronzoni Shells box. It is basically everything you have here, except the recipe calls for a little nutmeg. It seems to make all the difference. My husband's friend is in love with my stuffed shells now.

  6. Sara, Nutmeg is GREAT in Italian food! I usually put it in pasta dished with a cream or cheese based sauce.


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