Stuffed shells were a staple in both of our houses growing up. When we found this gorgeous box of shells at the market (conchiglioni in Italian), we both knew we had to get them! Everyone has their own idea about the best way to make dishes they grew up with, so we worked together to agree on what to do and not do. To start, you’ll need to get some good stuffing shells, high-quality ricotta, and finally make this sauce we learned from Mamma Agata in Italy. We use it on practically everything and it’s super easy!
This a great option for weeknight dinners. It easily makes leftovers that are perfect for lunch or a quick dinner again later in the week. We wanted to elevate the traditional casserole look, so we decided to start with a bed of sauce and then place the stuffed shells directly on top, with no sauce on the top (scandalous, we know). We also added spinach to the filling to add some healthy greens and cut back on the ricotta. Then, as usual, we covered it with mozzarella.
We absolutely love this copper Mauviel gratin (c/o). We’ve used it before to make things like this cauliflower gratin, but it was also perfect for this beautiful spread of shells. Not only is it beautiful, it also distributes the heat better, and it’s low and wide so you get crispy bits of pasta on the top. Often, copper pans are lined with tin and don’t allow you to cook acidic foods like tomatoes inside; it will destroy the tin lining. Since the inside of Mauviel pans are steel, there’s no reactive issues, and it comes clean really easily!
We served our stuffed shells on these white Marin dinner plates from Crate & Barrel. We’re currently loving this line of dinnerware. They are super simple, yet have a slight rustic edge.
- Preheat oven at 350F. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the shells to the water and cook 2 minutes less than the time according to the package to be al dente. Drain and allow to cool. Be careful not to break them.
- For the filling, in a bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, parsley, egg yolk, pinch of salt, and Grana Padano.
- Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of the gratin pan. Stuff each shell with the filling and place it into the sauce.Top the shells with pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.