Rich, cheesy baked goodness to get you through the week. Because food is just more enjoyable when it’s stuffed into other food.
This recipe freezes really well! If you have small square baking trays, you can do everything up til when you have to bake, and just cover and freeze. Bake for an additional 10~15 min and you’re golden! You can also make a huge batch of meat sauce and freeze it for other pasta recipes!
Also, please do not make the same mistake I did, get two tubs of ricotta. One 475 g tub did not do these shells justice, they hold a LOT more than you think they would. Most of the shells you see in the photo are only half full. And if you have additional ricotta you can always make some ricotta pancakes.
P.S. I don’t know if anyone will realize this but I started my meat sauce in a pan and had to switch to a large pot when I realized it wouldn’t fit….mistakes happen. Use a wide vessel lol.
Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells with Meat Sauce
- 1 box jumbo pasta shells* (340g)
- 250 g fresh mozarella** shredded/sliced
- 500g ground meat (~1.1lb) (I used 50% beef 50% pork)
- Half a large onion diced
- 4~6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 can tomatoes 28 oz (I used whole because I like it chunky)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste 30ml
- 3 tsp dried herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme)
- 1 tbsp oil 15ml
- 750 g ricotta cheese (about 1 1/2 tubs)
- 100 g Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 handful fresh spinach chopped (like 30g??)
- 3 sprigs parsley chopped (optional)
- 1 egg
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar (around half the amount of salt)
- Dash of pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Boil pasta shells as per instructions. You want to under-cook slightly since it’ll be further baked. Drain and once cool enough, arrange in a large baking dish.
- In a large skillet (with tall sides) or pot, heat up oil and add ground meat. Let brown and mix evenly to break it up.
- Add chopped onions and garlic.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar, herbs. Add a bit of water to get the rest of the tomato out of the can. Let simmer for 15 min. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
- Mix all the ingredients together for the ricotta cheese mixture.
- Use a spoon to stuff the shells with the cheese mixture. Arrange neatly.
- Pour meat sauce on top of the shells.
- Layer the mozzarella on top.
- Bake in oven for about 30 min. Optionally, you can turn the broiler on at the end for around 5 min til the cheese gets crispy and bubbly.