Stuffed Shells with Marinara
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3-Cheese Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce

Simple good comfort food at its best.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Marinara Sauce, Pasta, Stuffed Shells
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3
Author [email protected]

Ingredients

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

For the Shells and Filling:

  • 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • Water for boiling the shells
  • 3 teaspoons salt for the boiling water

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup cooked and crumbled Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) chopped fresh parsley curly or Italian parsley
  • 2 green onions chopped (including the green top part)

For the Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shredded Parmesan cheese or Grated Parmesan Cheese

For the Baking Dish:

  • 2 quart, 7 inch by 11 inch rectangular baking dish about 1-1/2 inches deep

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • To a casserole dish, add tomato sauce, granulated garlic, pepper and oregano. 
  • Fill the empty can of tomato sauce about half full with water (about 3/4 cup), and pour the water in with the tomato sauce (a great way to use up the tomato sauce that sticks to the inside of the can).
  • Stir the ingredients together and set aside.

For the Shells:

  • In a large sauce pan, add water and salt.  Heat the pan on medium heat and bring the water to a boil.  
  • To the pan, add the shells and cook until the shells are al dente (according to package directions) (about 8 minutes). Drain the shells and set aside (don't rinse the shells).
  • Don’t rinse the pasta after cooking it. When pasta is rinsed, the starch is removed. The starch on pasta helps to hold and absorb the sauce so it’s important to keep the starch on the pasta.

For the Filling:

  • In a medium size bowl, add the cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, chopped green onion, Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and chopped parsley.  Stir together. 
  • Using a small spoon, fill each pasta shell with the filling.
  • Give the sauce one more stir, and add the shells, filling side up to the baking dish in the sauce. 

For the Toppings:

  • Top the shells with the remaining shredded mozzarella, and shredded Parmesan cheese. 
  • Bake uncovered in a preheated oven until the cheese topping is completely melted and the edges of the cheese are starting to turn slightly brown; which is about the same amount of time that the cheese and sausage filling heats up all the way through (about 20 minutes).
  • Serve warm.

Notes

TIPS:

  1. Don’t rinse the pasta after cooking it. When pasta is rinsed, the starch is removed. The starch on pasta helps to hold and absorb the sauce so it’s important to keep the starch on the pasta.