I had leftover ricotta that I bought in case the cashew ricotta for my vegan baked ziti turned out to be a disaster. So, Claire and I got to work on some “real” ricotta stuffed shells to go along with the no-knead bread I had in the oven.
Although recipes for lasagna and stuffed shells often involve mozzarella cheese, veggies, or meat, I like to stick with my family’s recipe for basic manicotti when I’m making anything like that. So, this can be used for manicotti, lasagna, stuffed shells or even if you wanted to take smaller noodles (shells, elbows, etc) and just mix it all together in a casserole dish instead of stuffing anything (Thanks to my friend Tara for that tip, who I think got it from Rachel Ray).
Generally, the recipe is double the following, but with just the three of us eating it, I thought this would be plenty (And it was. I’ve eaten it for five days now!)
3/4 lb. ricotta cheese
3/8 c. Romano cheese
1 T. parsley
salt and pepper
1 lb. large shells
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil water and cook whole box of shells according to directions.
Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the ingredients.
Line a baking dish (or two) with a layer of sauce.
If you have a pastry bag, fill it with the cheese filling. If you don’t (like me) use ziplock bags, then snip off a corner of the bag to use as a pastry bag to fill the shells. I spent the first 20 years of my life scraping filling off a spoon onto the end of a manicotti shell (per Grandma June), then shoving it down into the tube with the handle of the spoon and repeating (thereby getting my hands covered in filling in the process).
Unfortunately, I switched to this Ziplock baggie method years before it occurred to me to let my mother in on the idea. After making Thanksgiving manicotti at her house a couple of years ago, my mother is now on board…
Cover with a light layer of sauce (Claire likes to roll them around in the sauce at this point too). Cover pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle with some Parmesan or Romano cheese if you like and enjoy!
Beware: These stuffed shells apparently cause extreme silliness and bouts of tickle torture.