Every year around the holidays, or on the holidays, usually Thanksgiving, my mom would make stuffed shells.
Rest assured, we always had turkey and all of the fixings, but we also had some sort of baked pasta too.
I have often wondered why this meal was more of a tradition rather than a staple.
Contrary to my own family’s Turkey Day tradition, stuffed shells really are the perfect and cozy weeknight meal.
My version is meatless but you can totally add sausage to the mix if you desire. If you are interested in cutting the prep time in half, ditch the sauce step and use your preferred premade jar of sauce instead.
I hope you enjoy the comforting flavors of my weeknight stuffed shells.
Weeknight Stuffed Shells
- Dutch Oven
- 9 x 13 pan
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 can tomato paste, 6 oz.
- 1 can tomato puree, 28 oz.
- salt, to taste
- salt and pepper I prefer Kosher salt
- 1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 c fresh grated mozzarella
- 2 c fresh grated parmesan
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 package jumbo shells
- Start with the sauce. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and a small pinch of salt.
- Stir often until the onion is translucent. About 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic. Stir to combine and then add the tomato puree.
- Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cover, stir occasionally and cook until the sauce gets thicker, about 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, and the egg yolks.
- Grate the single clove of garlic right into the bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the shells into boiling water and cook for 1 minute less than the box's suggested cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- When the shells are cooked, drain and rinse under cold water.
- Add half of the sauce to the bottom of the 9x13 pan.
- Scoop the ricotta filling inside each shell (about 2 tablespoons) and place in the pan. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, top with the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan.
- Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.
- Let sit for a few moments, then serve.