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Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

Hey there, fellow food enthusiast! If you’re hunting for a dish that’s both comforting and a sure crowd-pleaser, then you’ve stumbled upon the perfect recipe. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you a detailed guide to preparing Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta. This dish wraps tender pasta, rich sauce, and creamy ricotta in one delightful package that’s bound to light up any dinner table. So, grab your apron, and let’s get cooking!

Recipe Overview

Here’s a quick glimpse of what you’ll need and what to expect:

  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Total Servings: 6
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 65 minutes

Equipment Needed

Before we dive into the magic of making stuffed shells with meat sauce and ricotta, let’s make sure your kitchen is equipped. You’ll need:

  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Skillet for the meat sauce
  • Mixing bowl for the ricotta filling
  • Baking dish for assembling and baking
  • Spoon or spatula for filling the shells
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Ingredients for Stuffed Shells with Meat and Ricotta

Here’s everything you’ll need, laid out in a simple table:

IngredientQuantity
Jumbo pasta shells24 shells
Ground beef (Halal)1 lb
Onion, finely chopped1 medium
Garlic, minced3 cloves
Ricotta cheese15 oz
Mozzarella cheese, shredded2 cups
Parmesan cheese, grated1/2 cup
Egg1 large
Fresh parsley, chopped1/4 cup
Marinara sauce3 cups
SaltTo taste
Black pepperTo taste

Step by Step Instructions

Preparation of the Shells

  1. Start by boiling the pasta shells according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.

Note: Be careful not to overcook the shells; they should be firm enough to hold their shape when stuffed.

Making the Meat Sauce

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. After adding the ground beef, break it up with a spatula.
  2. Once the beef starts to brown, add the chopped onions and minced garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent and the meat is fully cooked.
  3. Stir in 2 cups of marinara sauce, bring to a simmer, and season with salt and pepper. Put it somewhere cool after taking it out of the heat.

Fact: Did you know that marinara sauce originated in Naples, Italy, and traditionally includes tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions?

Preparing the Ricotta Filling

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, egg, and chopped parsley. Depending on your taste, add salt and pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly until the filling is smooth and well-combined.

Assembling the Dish

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Spread the remaining cup of marinara sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.
  3. Take a cooled shell and spoon the ricotta mixture into it, then place it in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining shells.
  4. Spoon the meat sauce over the stuffed shells, making sure each shell is nicely covered.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

Warning: Make sure not to overfill the shells, or the filling might spill out during baking.

Baking

  1. After baking for 25 minutes, cover the dish with foil.
  2. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.

Additional Tips For Perfect Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

  • If you have leftover ricotta mixture, you can freeze it for use in another batch of stuffed shells.
  • Adding a dash of nutmeg to the ricotta filling can enhance the flavors.

Best Served With

Stuffed shells with meat sauce and ricotta pair wonderfully with:

  • For balance, a fresh green salad will go well with the rich dish.
  • Garlic bread for dipping into the savory sauce.

Nutrition in Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional content:

NutrientAmount per Serving
Calories580 kcal
Protein35 g
Carbohydrates45 g
Fat28 g
Saturated Fat12 g
Cholesterol100 mg
Sodium820 mg

Approximation Note: These values are approximate and may vary based on specific ingredient brands and portion sizes.

What Makes Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce Delicious

The magic in this dish lies in the perfect harmony of flavors and textures. The tender shells filled with creamy ricotta, the hearty and flavorful meat sauce, and the gooey melted cheese come together to create a truly satisfying meal.The interplay of fresh parsley and the subtle sharpness of Parmesan adds depth to the ricotta filling, making each bite a delightful surprise. And let’s not forget the marinara sauce—it envelops everything in a tangy embrace that brightens the rich flavors of the meats and cheeses.

Fact: Parmesan cheese, known for its intense flavor, is aged between 12 and 36 months to develop its unique nutty and slightly fruity taste profile.

FAQs about Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

How can I make this recipe gluten-free?

To make this dish gluten-free, simply use gluten-free pasta shells available at most grocery stores. Make sure that every other ingredient is gluten-free.

Can I prepare Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta dish ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the stuffed shells a day in advance and keep them refrigerated. When you’re ready to eat, just bake them according to the recipe instructions, adding an extra 5-10 minutes to the baking time.

Is there a way to make this recipe without meat?

Yes, for a vegetarian version, substitute the ground beef with a mixture of vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, and bell peppers, or use a plant-based meat substitute.

How do I store leftovers?

In the fridge, leftovers can be kept for up to three days in a container that doesn’t let air in. Warm it up again in the oven or microwave until it’s completely warm.

Can I freeze stuffed shells?

Stuffed shells freeze wonderfully. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet to freeze initially, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. They can be baked straight from the freezer by adding about 10-15 minutes to the original baking time.

Conclusion

Creating these Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta isn’t just about following a recipe—it’s about crafting a meal that brings warmth, comfort, and a touch of gourmet to your table. The layers of flavor in this dish are designed to please the palate and satisfy the soul, making it an ideal choice for family dinners or special gatherings.

Remember, the key to perfect stuffed shells lies in balancing the flavors and textures, so don’t hesitate to adjust the seasonings to your taste. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a culinary novice, this recipe is sure to impress.

I’d love to hear how your stuffed shells turned out, so please leave a comment below with your experiences, questions, or feedback. Happy cooking!

Check out some more delicious main course recipes:

Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

Discover how to make delicious stuffed shells with meat sauce and ricotta with our easy, step-by-step guide. Perfect Italian comfort food!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 580 kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Skillet for the meat sauce
  • Mixing bowl for the ricotta filling
  • Baking dish for assembling and baking
  • Spoon or spatula for filling the shells

Ingredients
  

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 lb ground beef Halal
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Preparation of the Shells

  • Start by boiling the pasta shells according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.

Making the Meat Sauce

  • Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. After adding the ground beef, break it up with a spatula.
  • Once the beef starts to brown, add the chopped onions and minced garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent and the meat is fully cooked.
  • Stir in 2 cups of marinara sauce, bring to a simmer, and season with salt and pepper. Put it somewhere cool after taking it out of the heat.

Preparing the Ricotta Filling

  • In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, egg, and chopped parsley. Depending on your taste, add salt and pepper.
  • Mix thoroughly until the filling is smooth and well-combined.

Assembling the Dish

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Spread the remaining cup of marinara sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Take a cooled shell and spoon the ricotta mixture into it, then place it in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining shells.
  • Spoon the meat sauce over the stuffed shells, making sure each shell is nicely covered.
  • Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

Baking

  • After baking for 25 minutes, cover the dish with foil.
  • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.

Notes

  • If you have leftover ricotta mixture, you can freeze it for use in another batch of stuffed shells.
  • Adding a dash of nutmeg to the ricotta filling can enhance the flavors.
Keyword Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce and Ricotta

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Jamie

Author

Hey there! I’m Jamie from RecipeTangle.com. My love for cooking? It all started in my grandma’s kitchen, surrounded by the aroma of herbs and spices, where every meal told a story. Inspired by those memories, I set off to explore the rich flavors and cuisines from around the world. Can’t wait to share this delicious journey with you!

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