Despite the pasta and cheese this dish is surprisingly light thanks to the filling in the shells.
This recipe is also great to make ahead of time and simply place into the oven when required. There aren’t many ingredients either so it doesn’t cost too much so perfect when working with a budge. Bring a little bit of Italy into your home and enjoy.
250g pasta shells
475 grams Ricotta cheese
30g grated Parmesan cheese plus a bit extra for topping the pasta
Salt & pepper to season
2 tsp finely chopped parsley (keep some in reserve for garnish)
2 tsp chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
150g grated mozzarella
600g marinara sauce
1 lemon (for the zest).
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Depending on the cooking instructions for your pasta, cook the shells for around half the required time as we want the shells to still be firm when we stuff them otherwise they will end up breaking if too soft! Drain the shells under cold water and leave to one side.
In a bowl add the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, seasoning, lemon zest and herbs, mix well until you have a nice loose texture. Place the mix into a piping bag if you have one, if not place into a freezer/sandwich bag and snip off a corner and use that to pipe with. Pipe some of the cheese mixture into each of the shells and set aside.
Spread the base of your oven dish with some of the marinara sauce and place the filled pasta shells on top. Cover the shells with the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese and a good few grinds of Parmesan cheese, place in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for around 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden. When serving, sprinkle with some of the reserved parsley and enjoy with a crisp fresh salad and some garlic bread.
Mark’s Top Tip
The measurements for this recipe can vary depending on the size of the dish in which you cook the pasta. A good way to check you end up with the right amount is to place dried shells into your dish to see how many it takes to complete a layer.
If you do end up with too many shells don’t worry, you can still fill them with the cheese mixture and freeze them to use another day.
I’m not the greatest lover of different kinds of cheese and had never tried Ricotta and always thought I hated Parmesan. But they worked so well together, and was extremely light and packed with flavour! There was enough for about 6 meals – so I have been having it for lunches as well. Totally recommend it!
Well I have to say that is a mighty fine looking plate of food, the cheese sauce looks amazing, thick and tasty looking, love the colour as well, has to be 9/10 this week. Keep up the great work!
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