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)
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.