Four Cheese Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells are by far one of the most delicious Italian recipes you can prepare for your friends and family. The combination of different cheeses and fresh herbs topped with a nice bolognese sauce will put a smile on the face of the grumpiest old men.
Believe me it works for me all the time. I can't get enough of any pasta dish that includes ricotta cheese. It is such a versatile ingredient that it can be implemented in many favorite Italian dishes.
Bakes mostaccioli, baked cavatelli and of course lasagna are just a few dishes that use ricotta. I usually buy five pounds and eat a pound while preparing my dishes. Old habits are hard to break.
Lets start with the stuffed shells and later we'll get to the other recipes.
Don't forget when making stuffed shells don't be afraid to experiment. Add spinach, mushrooms or different herbs and vegetables to enhance this already wonderful dish.
1 box of jumbo shell pasta
5lb of ricotta cheese (eat 1lb while cooking)
1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup of grated asiago cheese
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 tbls. fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 lb of ground beef
1/2 lb of ground pork
1 onion chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
6 cloves of crushed garlic
3 Tbls of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
4 15oz. cans of tomto puree
2 15oz. cans of diced plum tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 cup of water
Mix together ricotta, mozzarella, asiago and Parmesan cheeses.
Add parsley and eggs and stir with fork until everything is well blended.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Start the bolognese sauce by sauteing the onion, carrots and peppers in oil in a large pot for about 10 minutes.
Add garlic and saute another 3 minutes.
Add ground beef and pork.
Break up meat with a wooden spoon so there isn't big chunks of meat. Stir together and let cook around five more minutes.
Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper and stir.
Add wine, tomato puree, tomatoes, tomato paste and water.
Stir everything together and let cook for around 3 to 5 hours stirring in between.
While sauce is cooking place the shells in about 6 quarts of boiling water until cooked. Drain and cool before stuffing.
Stuff shells with ricotta mixture.
Place a ladle full of sauce at the bottom of a casserole dish and arrange shells.
Top with more sauce and sprinkle with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake shell for about 1 hour until heated through.
Serve with extra sauce and garlic bread.
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