Stuffed shells are a beautiful, simple thing: pasta, filling, sauce and cheese. What could be better than this quiet perfection? More! More of everything!
This recipe is shells to the max! White sauce, red sauce, five cheeses! It’s divine!
Yes there are a lot of ingredients. Yes it’s a tad time consuming. But this my friends, is pure culinary heaven!
You can make the dish ahead of time, in fact I’d recommend a day ahead to let flavor-meld time be maximized.
The recipe yields about two pans full of shells, so you’ve got dinner covered for the week.
There are a lot of options available on this recipe to make it your own. Switch up the cheeses, change the spinach to arugula or omit, use your favorite type of mushroom or omit, use a different meat or omit. You get the point. Have fun with it and enjoy!
Five Cheese Stuffed Shells
1 16 oz package jumbo pasta shells
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 c mozzarella cheese
1 c Asiago cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 32 oz container, ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tbl olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups spinach, washed
1 c mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
2 t dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t lemon zest
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 package of your favorite sausage, I used a four-cheese turkey sausage.
1 24 ounce jar of Tomato Sauce, your favorite
4 tbl butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbl all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 c milk
1 cup tbl grated Parmesan
3 tbl chopped fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 9 by 13 inch baking dishes, spread a small enough amount of tomato sauce on the bottom, enough to cover, and set aside.
Cook shells according to package. Drain and place open side down on towels.
Cook sausage according to package. When cool, chop into small, bite-sized pieces.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for another minute. Stir in spinach until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan, and ricotta in a large bowl. Stir in egg, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper. When spinach/mushroom mixture is cool, add, and mix thoroughly.
Stuff each shell with approximately 2 tablespoons of cheese filling. Arrange in baking dish.
To make the white sauce, heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add cream and milk and whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, add Parmesan, and stir.
Pour sauce over the shells in a zigzag pattern. Repeat with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with any left over grated Parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Before serving, top with chopped basil, and enjoy!