I admit, asking you to turn on the oven in this heat can be considered cruel. I like to avoid it myself during the summer but la famiglia and I were trying to celebrate Italy being in the Euro2012 finals with an “Italian Sunday dinner”. While the match went horribly, horribly wrong, the stuffed shells were a triumph! (A bit much? OK, they were really, really good.)
I paired the stuffed shells with my yummy, Meiko-has-nothing-on-me baked turkey meatballs (recipe here).
Baked Stuffed Shells
One package (12-oz) of large pasta shells
About 10 oz of ricotta cheese (I used one 8oz container of ricotta plus a little bit more, so roughly 10 -12 oz)
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
About 8-oz of shredded smoked mozzarella
2-3 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then add the shells. Stir frequently to prevent the shells from sticking to each other. Cook for about 9-11 minutes; don’t overcook as you’re going to be baking them as well.
While the pasta is cooking, mix together the ricotta, mascarpone cheese, about half of the Parmesan and smoked mozzarella, parsley and salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and cool on a baking sheet. Prepare the baking dish you are going to use by spreading some tomato sauce and a tablespoon or two of water on the bottom.
Fill the shells with the cheese mixture and place them in the baking dish, open side up.
Then add more tomato sauce on top, to your liking (I added just a little bit to the tops of each shell, but you can ladle it on if you like), then sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan and smoked mozzarella on top of the tomato sauce. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!