Yield: 4-6 servings

Time: 40 minutes


20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells

For the Marinara

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ a medium onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

¼ cup dry white wine

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

½ teaspoon red pepper flake

For the Cheese Filling

1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese

1 large egg

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

10 large basil leaves, Chiffonade

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

To cook the pasta shells, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place the shells in the water and cook for 9 minutes to al dente. Drain the shells and set aside to cool.

Begin the marinara sauce while the pasta shells are cooking.

To make the marinara sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes while stirring to prevent the garlic from burning then stir in the tomato paste and cook an additional 2 minutes while stirring. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Add both cans of tomatoes (with juice) and stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 15 minutes. Once done, ladle 1 cup into a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Make the cheese filling while the marinara sauce is cooking.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese and the egg. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. When the shells are cool enough to handle, use a dinner spoon to scoop filling into each shell — about 2 tablespoons. Set each stuffed shell in the baking dish on top of the marinara sauce. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells. The shells will soak up some of the sauce as they continue to cook.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.

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