Recipe: Stuffed & Baked Shells w/ Ricotta and Tomato


Stuffed & Baked Shells w/ Ricotta and Tomato, yield: 4 servings


1pkg Conchiglioni, (large shell pasta)

½c ricotta, whole fat and room temp

¼c cream cheese, room temp

¼c Parmesan, grated

2ea eggs (free range, of course)

½c breadcrumbs

3T basil, dried

3T oregano, dried

3T fennel seed

2t black pepper, ground

24oz jar tomato sauce (pick your fave)

2c kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

3c mozzarella, shredded


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Place a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. (Should taste like the ocean – salty AF)
  • Blanch kale for 30 seconds in the boiling water and then remove to cool. Then mix 1.5c of the kale with the tomato sauce and set aside.
  • Cook pasta 95% of the way in the salted boiling water, then toss with olive oil and lay out on sheet tray to let cool.
  • In a bowl or a food processor, add ricotta, cream cheese, parmesan, eggs, dried herbs, dried spices, 1/2c of the kale, breadcrumbs and a couple pinches of salt. Mix thoroughly, making sure to smooth out any clumps of cheese or breadcrumb.
  • Taste the cheese filling. Does it need salt? Should be robust and flavorful, but not salty.
  • Now, start to stuff shells with the filling. You can use a pastry bag or justa small spoon here. Fill them and lay them into a pyrex baking dish. Once dish is full of stuffed pasted, pour over kale tomato sauce. Shake and wiggle the dish gently to make sure the sauce lays evenly and gets in between all the pasta. Next, smother in the shredded cheese (I like to also add a generous sprinkle of crushed red pepper over the top of the cheese for a little zing – totes optional).
  • Bake at 350F for about 45mins until tomato sauce is bubbling and cheese has turned a nice caramelized, light brown color.
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Born and raised in the suburbs of Saint Paul, MN, Brandon has immersed himself into being a local and sustainable advocate for delicious living. Working for the best Chef’s in the Twin Cities before becoming the Residence Chef at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence and personal Chef for the Zimmern family. Foraging, eating, parenting, writing, cycling, consulting, catering and hosting pop up dinners are what his free time entails.