Italian Stuffed Shells

Company is coming…what do I serve for dinner? This is usually the first question I ask myself when we invite guests to our home. One of my go-to dinners is Italian Stuffed Shells.

  • It is the type of recipe that can easily be doubled or tripled.
  • It can be made in advance of guests arriving so that I’m not cooking at the last minute.
  • If there are any leftovers, this dish freezes very well.
  • So far, everyone that I have served this to has loved it!

**I have included my recipe for tomato sauce. This recipe for stuffed shells can be made even easier by using a good jarred spaghetti sauce.**

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.When I was younger cook, I was a bit intimidated by this dish. I thought it was a complicated recipe and I was fearful that it wouldn’t turn out. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this is to make.

For the homemade sauce, saute’ one tablespoon of olive oil…

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.…with one tablespoon of minced garlic, but do not allow garlic to brown as this will make for a bitter sauce.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.Add one 28 ounce can of Italian crushed tomatoes.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.Add salt, black pepper, oregano and fresh basil.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.Yummy sauce.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 28 ounce can of Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh basil

Instructions

Saute' garlic in olive oil, but do not brown. Add can of crushed tomatoes and add all seasonings. Allow sauce to simmer on low for 30 minutes. Turn burner off and let sauce sit for one hour.

This is a great meatless sauce for any pasta dish or as a good soup starter.

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Some of the ingredients for the cheese filling.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.This cheese filling is so good!!

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.

Here is a tip for filling your shells:

Fill a ziplock bag with the cheese filling mixture…

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.…and then cut off one bottom corner. The baggie becomes a piping bag and makes filling the pasta shells an ease with little clean up.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.

Italian Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Bertolli jumbo shells (approximately 25 shells)
  • 1 15 ounce carton Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese * SEE below
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • *1 cup more of mozzarella for topping

Instructions

Boil shells according to package directions.

While shells are boiling mix all of the above ingredients and cream together.

Pour 3/4 cup of your preferred tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Fill each shell with approximately 1 TBS of cheese mixture (I prefer more). When your shells are filled and your pan is full, pour remainder of tomato sauce on top of shells. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella on top of sauce.

Bake in a 350 degree oven approximately 20 minutes or until heated through.

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Pour 3/4 of a cup of tomato sauce and spread into the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.Place your stuffed shells on top of this sauce.

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.I can’t believe that I forgot to take a photo before I put the pan in the oven ARGH!!

Doesn’t the finished dish look delicious? It really was – if I do say so myself. :) Our guests loved it too!!

Delicious and easy-to-make Italian Stuffed Shells. A great dinner when entertaining.