When my daughter was younger (and even now) she would ask for stuffed shells often. They’re fun to look at and are filling and warming. This recipe doesn’t call for the Sunday version of sauce – which takes a long time and admittedly, has a fuller richer flavor. But for a weeknight – this will do; and it’s quick. Heck – you could even substitute your favorite jarred sauce if you’d like.
The secret to flavorful shells filling is adding the minced onion for flavor and egg for richness. Don’t worry – it doesn’t taste “oniony” but the onion adds the little kick that ricotta desperately needs.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup full bodied red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons sugar
Salt/pepper to taste
32-ounce full fat or skim ricotta
1 Medium red onion (finely minced)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt/pepper to taste
1 package large shells – cook according to package…toss with olive oil to prevent from sticking and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Add olive oil over medium heat. Allow to get hot. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes and paste. Add wine, vinegar and sugar. Taste. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer is better) but don’t let it burn. Do not cover. Keep tasting and adjust accordingly.
Scramble the egg. Add it to the ricotta. Add minced onion, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Fill cooled shells. In a 13 x 9 pan add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom. Fill the pan with filled shells. Cover with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese or grated mozzarella. Bake for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown slightly.
A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!