I have planned to make stuffed shells or lasagna on a Sunday night for weeks and weeks, and somehow we always wind up going out, grabbing something quick in the house, or ordering in. This Sunday, I was determined to cook. I knew I’d have a receptive audience, since my in-laws and GG were here, and I thought there was a chance the boys would try it, since it is the familiar (if not well-loved) triad of sauce, cheese, and carb.
For one box of cooked jumbo shells, I made a filling out of 2 15-oz. containers of part-skim ricotta, a couple of eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, and some black pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes. (I sometimes add a thawed, drained package of frozen chopped spinach to the mix, which is where the nutmeg comes into play. But not this time) About a third of a 28-oz. jar of marinara sauce goes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish, and then a layer of shells filled with the cheese mixture goes on top. Repeat another layer of sauce and shells, then put one more layer of sauce and top with shredded part-skim mozzarella. Bake at 350° F for about a half hour, or until sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and browned. (Well, don’t brown it quite as much as I did…)
Making the shells is super-easy, though the actual stuffing part takes a while. With a salad and some ciabatta rolls, it’s a great family dinner. The adults all loved it, and although I wasn’t able to get the boys to try any, they were content with the bread — A. had some salad, too.