Cheese Shells with three kinds of a creamy white sauce

Cheese Shells

The Perfect Cheese Lover’s Dinner

Cheese Shells: If it weren’t for cheese, this food blog would undoubtedly be called Skinny Girl rather than RecipeGirl. Pasta is always welcome in my home, but cheese is something I simply cannot live without. Nothing beats the tang of aged sharp cheddar, the flavor of soft, fresh goat cheese, or the creaminess of a slice of French brie. I adore all of them. But that’s fine. I like cheese far more than I like being a skinny girl. I suppose I could learn to live in moderation with this delicious evil (which I do most of the time), but it’s not always easy.

Cheese Shells

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipe:

Ricotta, shredded cheese (I used white sharp cheddar), and feta cheese are stuffed into large shells. They’re topped with a simple homemade cream sauce (Bechamel base minus the nutmeg… with feta cheese added). A sprinkle of fresh basil and chives is sprinkled on top before baking for 30 minutes. If you prefer, you can substitute marinara sauce for the cream sauce.

It’s a great dinner for both the husband and the kids. Dunked in that creamy, cheesy sauce, the melty cheese-stuffed pasta shells are delicious. To help balance things out, we eat them with a large green salad.

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce

Recipe Specifications

  • Preparation Time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes Course: Primary Course Italian cuisine Pasta, stuffed shells, three kinds of cheese, and white sauce Servings per recipe: 6 (24 shells) 737 kilocalories

Ingredients

PASTA: 24 large pasta shells (cooked according to package directions), rinsed and cooled.

FILLING

  • 30 ounces ricotta cheese FOR FILLING
    feta or goat cheese, 4 oz (chopped finely)
  • a quarter-cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, sharp white cheddar, gouda, fontina)
  • 13 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • two large eggs
  • pepper and salt

SAUCE

  • 5 tablespoons butter SAUCE
    4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cream (half and half)
  • 2 quarts of whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 ounces finely chopped feta or goat cheese

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • pepper and salt

Instructions

PREPARE THE FILLING:

Make the filling while the pasta is cooking. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

MAKE THE SAUCE:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Incorporate the flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture turns a golden sandy color. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the half and half and milk until just about to boil. 1 cup at a time, whisk the hot milk into the butter mixture until completely smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and cheese. Save until ready to use.

Assemble the shells

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F before assembling the shells. Nonstick spray a 9×13-inch baking pan. Fill the bottom of the pan with about 112 cup of sauce. Place the shells in the pan and fill them with the cheese mixture (6 rows x 4 rows). Drizzle with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with basil and chives (if using), then season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the shells are hot, bubbling and heated all the way through.

*I always make a few extra shells because some of them inevitably break apart while boiling. If desired, substitute marinara sauce for the white sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 737kcal per serving (4 shells), Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 46g Cholesterol: 197mg, Sodium: 969mg, Potassium: 520mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1956IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 710mg, Iron: 3mg

FAQ

Do you put an egg in the ricotta when making stuffed shells?

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, herbs, pressed garlic, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and seasoning. Mix everything thoroughly with a fork until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout.

Why do stuffed shells become wet?

If you overcook the shells, they will tear when you try to stuff them, and the pasta will become mushy because it continues to cook while the stuffed shells bake. Remove the shells from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking.

Do you stuff stuffed shells with eggs?

While the shells are cooking, make the filling by combining ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, as well as seasonings and an egg. Fill each cooked shell with the cheese mixture using a spoon or a piping bag. Arrange the shells on top of the marinara sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.

Does one serve equal how many stuffed shells?

How many Stuffed Pasta Shells do you serve per person? I usually estimate 2-3 shells per person. Larger appetites may prefer 4, while smaller appetites may prefer 2. This recipe makes about 20-22 stuffed shells with a hearty meat sauce and serves 6-8 people.

How long should large shells be boiled?

Cook uncovered for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, for pre-bake cooking time. Drain and cool on a baking sheet. Fill shells with desired recipe and bake. OR, to serve with your favorite Barilla sauce, boil for 12 minutes uncovered and drain well.

What exactly is the distinction between manicotti and stuffed shells?

You can make this popular Italian-American dish by following recipes for manicotti or stuffed shells. Both kinds of pasta are intended to be filled. The difference is in the particulars. Manicotti literally translates to “little muffs.” The large tubes are designed to be stuffed.

Stuffed shells, how filling are they?

One stuffed shell (3.5 oz / 100g) contains 141 calories (60 calories from fat). One serving contains 6.6 grams of total fat (2.3 grams of saturated fat), 37 milligrams of cholesterol, 397 milligrams of sodium, 304 milligrams of potassium, and 6.6 grams of total carbohydrates.

Editor’s choice: Feta and Herb Pasta Shells

Stuffed Taco Shells

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