Triple Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells with Tomato Sauce
This lovely stuffed pasta shell recipe is perfect for vegetarians because it is meat-free, but it also makes a nice dish for carnivores who fancy a change from beef, chicken or pork-based pasta dishes. Feel free to add some ground beef to the sauce if you do want meat in there though. These pasta shells are loaded with tomato sauce and 3 kinds of cheeses, and it is simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser. Nobody can resist the allure of stuffed pasta, especially when the flavor is as good as it is here.
You can double the recipe if you are feeding a crowd, or even double it anyway and then simply freeze one batch for a future meal. Mozzarella, Italian-blend and ricotta cheeses combine with parsley and basil to make the filling for the pasta shells, and then you can arrange the stuffed shells in a baking dish and pour your favorite tomato sauce over the top, either a plain tomato sauce, a herbed kind, or a homemade one if you want.
The pasta shells will be cooked just shy of al dente when you stuff them because they will become more tender in the oven during baking. The cheese filling will melt too, to make the dish so creamy and indulgent. Add some extra cheese on top and keep baking until the dish is piping hot. Serve it with a green salad or your favorite vegetables, and perhaps some garlic bread too.
- 30 uncooked jumbo shell pasta
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- Oil or cooking spray, for greasing
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta shells in boiling water for 8 minutes or until they are nearly al dente.
- Drain and rinse with cold water, then drain again.
- Combine half the Italian cheese with all the ricotta, mozzarella, parsley, basil, salt, and black pepper.
- Put 1½ tablespoons of this mixture in each pasta shell.
- Arrange the stuffed shells stuffed side up in a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
- Pour the sauce over the top, then cover and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
- Uncover, sprinkle the rest of the Italian-blend cheese on top, and bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
- Serve 3 stuffed shells to each person, along with your chosen side dishes.
Jumbo size pasta shells can be stuffed and served individually or they can be stuffed, topped with tomato sauce and extra cheese, and baked casserole-style like in this recipe. The ingredients are pretty simple – along with the pasta you only need 3 kinds of cheese, tomato sauce, and some Italian herbs. Those provide all the flavor you will need. Serve a simple green salad on the side, or offer some garlic bread which can be used to soak up any sauce still on the plate. This recipe will appeal to grownups and kids alike. It is also a cheap dish to make if you are expecting a crowd.
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