Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells Recipe


I went by the old apartment this afternoon. By myself, one last time. I said good-bye to the park in the front, and the big trees in the back. I think I'd have a harder time leaving, but we still have friends on the block, and I suspect it'll be no big deal to swing by and hang out on the steps on nice days. Up the street, the mountain of cardboard boxes is gone. That, and getting dinner on the table the first night in, felt great. Wayne loves stuffed shells - straight up, red sauced, ricotta-stuffed snails of baked deliciousness. It has been a while. And so that's what I made.

Stuffed Shells Recipe

Before I dive into the specifics related to dinner, I thought I'd share some snapshots I took in the new place the first afternoon. A few of the little details I crushed on hard when I first walked in. The apartment is old, pre-earthquake, but beautifully restored. I love the antique built-in mirrors, the miles of molding, and the etched glass above each doorway. The details are so interesting that I find myself wanting to keep some of the spaces nearly empty, to let the building just be. We'll see...

Stuffed Shells Recipe

Dinner. I admit, stuffed shells are a bit of a cheat for a first-night meal. I mean, I did all the prep ahead of time, and then drove the shells up the street in the backseat of the car. But, man, did they hit the spot after an incredibly long day. And it was no big deal to make them. Even though most of the kitchen was packed up, I made a quick pot of my favorite tomato sauce a couple days out. The day prior to the move, I made the ricotta filling, stuffed the shells and arranged them in a big baking dish. All I had to do is get them to the new apartment without dropping them, and wash a mixing bowl and spoon.

Before I let you loose with the recipe, a few notes. I do these shells with lemon zest in the filling and in the sauce. Not typical, but really tasty. I also love the pop of heat you get from the red pepper flakes in the sauce. I baked this batch of shells family-style, in one big pan. But, you can bake individual portions in ramekins, gratin dishes, or Staubs, if you like. Play around with the ricotta filling too - sometimes I add chopped olives, or chopped spinach, herbs, roasted seasonal vegetables, etc.

 
 
 
 

Stuffed Shells Recipe

As I mention up above, you can make the components for this a couple days ahead of time if needed - i.e. sauce, filling. Also, you won't be able to fit 25-30 shells in your pan, but a few are always casualties of the boil, so I call for more than you'll likely need.

zest of one lemon

Sauce:
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
scant 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
1 14-ounce can crushed red tomatoes

Filling:
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / ~5 oz grated mozzarella
1 bunch of chives, minced

25-30 jumbo dried pasta shells

Oil a 13 x 9-inch / 33 x 23-cm baking pan, or equivalent, and sprinkle the zest of 1/2 the lemon across it. Set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling, and preheat your oven to 350F / 180C with a rack in the middle.

To make the sauce, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant - you don't want the garlic to brown. Now stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, just a minute or two. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don't want to burn your tongue)...If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Let cool.

To make the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until combined, then stir in the mozzarella, remaining lemon zest, and 3/4 of the chives. Set aside.

Cook the shells according to package instructions in well-salted water - until al dente. If you overcook, the shells will tear as you attempt to fill them. Drain and let cool long enough to handle with your hands - see photo.

Spread 1/3 of sauce across the bottom of the prepared pan. Fill each shell with ricotta, and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover for the final 15 minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve hot.

Serves 4 - 6.

Prep time: 30 min - Cook time: 45 min

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Your Comments


This sounds like such a comforting meal. I've actually never made stuffed shells but you make it sound so easy and look so delicious - as usual! I'm trying to cook with as little heat as possible these days since it's just so dang hot, but these just may be worth it :)
(And those snapshots of the apartment look absolutely gorgeous! Can't wait to see more!)

 

Linsey
June 16, 2011

Hello, crown molding! What a place, Heidi! When do we all get to come over for dinner? I would let my fiance read this post, but then he'll be upset that I didn't prep moving meals like you did! I just unpacked my kitchen, and this will be our dinner!

 

I am crazy about stuffed shells. They look amazing! I like them straight up, too; sauce, ricotta, and a little mozzarella. So good! Haven't had any in awhile, totally inspired to make them now.

 

Jacqui
June 16, 2011

There is no better way to break in a new home than with the comforts of a familiar and loved dish. Especially when it's pasta! Love the idea of adding lemon zest to these shells. And your new place looks like it has so much charm, and exactly the elements that would win me over too, I can't resist old buildings!

 

Heather
June 16, 2011

Stuffed shells are the reason I am thinking about making dinner now...I just don't know if there's anything else I could eat now that I've seen this!

 

Blog is the New Black
June 16, 2011

Beautiful pics, even better recipe!

 

Katherine
June 16, 2011

Heidi, so very happy for you. What a glorious place to call home. Much happiness to you and Wayne and all those you invite into this lovely space.
Baked shells, an old friend welcoming you into a new place. Perfect.

 

Simply Life
June 16, 2011

These look fabulous and your apt looks amazing from those pictures!

 

Tracy
June 16, 2011

Your recipes ALWAYS make me think - that's what I'll make tomorrow! Yum. Congrats on the new place!

 

Leah
June 16, 2011

beautiful!

 

Coco aka Opera Girl
June 16, 2011

Stuffed shells were major comfort food for me growing up -- I'd forgotten all about that, however, untill I read this post! I'm 99% sure our version was bought pre-assembled in the freezer section of the grocery store, to be covered in tomato sauce and baked. I'd never thought of making a homemade version 'til now -- easy as lasagna and you get automatic portion control to boot! Now, to track down gluten-free large pasta shells . . .

 

Anonymous
June 16, 2011

What a wonderful post. I know what you are feeling...the thrill of the new apartment mixed with the angst of moving on from a beloved space. The stuffed shells seem perfect, and I love the photos. Good luck in your new home.

 

Sue Moran
June 16, 2011

I forgot to sign in for the last post...

 

Anything you make upon first moving into a place is not cheating...don't even say that stuffed shells are a bit of a cheat?!

You just MOVED!!! :)

"the mountain of cardboard boxes is gone. That, and getting dinner on the table the first night in, felt great. "-- there is nothing better than getting rid of all those boxes that for weeks have been in your eyesight.

Crushing on details of 1920s style buildings...the house I lived in when I was pregnant with my daughter had horrible plumbing, everything leaked from the roof to the shower to the toilet, there were so many things wrong with it...and yet everything was right. The charm and character. And in San Diego the lovely fruit trees and herb plants and you name it that had been growing since the 20s in the backyard...so awesome :)

Enjoy your new pad!

 

la domestique
June 16, 2011

Pasta is the perfect first night meal. The shells look so yummy and comforting. I always love the first meal in a new house. Now it's your home!

 

Holy Crap! I always do my stuffed shells with lemon zest, too! I thought I was all alone. If anyone reads this comment, I totally second the lemon zest.

 

When I was a kiddo we used to have stuffed shells on a regular basis. My brother and I always got excited when we knew that's what was for dinner. Ours had spinach stirred into the ricotta mixture back when we thought we 'didn't like spinach'. Best part about this dish is that componants can be made ahead. Love that.

 

Heidi @ Food Doodles
June 16, 2011

Mmm, I love stuffed shells and yours look delicious! What beautiful details in your new place! The little details are always what make it :)

 

Snippets of Thyme
June 16, 2011

I made some stuff shells the other day and just couldn't figure out how to photograph them. And then, look here at your beautiful photos. Congratulations on the move end competition and now let the enjoyment begin!

 

a Teenage Gourmet
June 16, 2011

This looks so satisfying. I'd love to eat these with my family.

 

Jenn
June 16, 2011

These look delicious. I didn't know it, but I think this is exactly what I have been craving.

 

I love spinach in my stuffed shells. Love the architectural details, so very lovely.

 

H - There must be something in the air! I was just putting together a few recipes for dairy free stuffed shells. I was snacking on a few bites of a creamy mushroom quinoa stuffed shell platter that I made tonight. But I must say, the addition of lemon zest in a classic ricotta in yours is just a reminder of how good the classic version of stuffed shells really is! Thank you! + Congrats on the move!

 

Alexandra
June 16, 2011

Congratulations on the move, Heidi :) These shells are nearly identical to some I made in January. So comforting :)

 

Katrina
June 16, 2011

Mmm this is such comfort food! Love this.

 

Blaine
June 16, 2011

I'm swooning over your new place - I love old homes with attention to detail and lots of character.

By the by: you mentioned books you were reading in your last post. I'm in the market for some summer reads, I'd love another post about your favorite books as of late!

 

DessertForTwo
June 16, 2011

Such a classic! Love the idea of lemon zest! I don't think there's a thing that isn't improved with lemon zest :)

Love the molding in your new place!

 

Amy
June 16, 2011

Oh goodness your new apartment is beautiful! And the way you describe those ricotta-stuffed shells as a first-night meal almost makes me want to move just so I can plan out and a first meal in a new home.

 

Jessica
June 16, 2011

Yum! Those look amazing! As simple as they are they still look and sound delicious! May have to make sometime this weekend! As always your photos are gorgeous, and are amazing at adding to your already inspirational writing!

 

Anjali Shah
June 16, 2011

Those stuffed shells look so cute! And what a simple, yet hearty and satisfying recipe. We're going to an Italian themed potluck tomorrow night, maybe I'll make these :) Thanks!

 

Michelle
June 16, 2011

my husband adores shells and cheese. I have been wanting to make them for some time and this might just be the kick in the pants I need. i am totally going to spike olives and capers in the sauce.

 

Jessica
June 16, 2011

The new apartment is a dream. Love the moldings and detailing. I've only made stuffed shells once and they weren't as tasty as I wanted them to be. I should give this recipe a go.

 

Katie
June 16, 2011

Yum! I love baked pasta stuffed with ricotta. Congrats on the new apartment, those details look amazing.

 

caroline
June 16, 2011

a recipe I will definitely try. one time in college my friend and I decided to make stuffed shells without a recipe because we know we had a plethora knowledge of italian food from watching a lot of giada and surprisingly they came out good. good enough that people started asking us for the recipe.

but these look even better and since I don't eat meat I love finding recipes that I could cook and eat. bookmarking!

 

Emma
June 16, 2011

Gorgeous apartment :)

I love pasta with a simple, good tomato based sauce, and stuffed shells beats stuffing cannelloni sheets anyday!

 

Kathryn
June 17, 2011

This is pretty much what we're having for dinner tonight - I like a tiny kick of chilli in there too and maybe some nutmeg in the filling just to bring it to life. Although you have managed the impossible and made the dish look pretty which I have never been able to ;)

 

Cherrey
June 17, 2011

there are a lot of recipes worth trying and getting my hands on.. this is one of them.. i think your new apartment looks fabulous!

 

Brian
June 17, 2011

I didn't realize I was craving stuffed shells until I read this.... one of my favorite meals growing up, thanks for this recipe and the reminder.

(Also, the new place looks brilliant!)

 

Ruth
June 17, 2011

The new pad looks amazing! And the shells - I'll take that sort of dinner any day! :-)

 

Hari Chandana
June 17, 2011

Delicious !!

 

Mich
June 17, 2011

These look delicious, and I am particularly interested in trying this sauce! Also- love your bowl! Is this homemade pottery?

HS: Hi Mich: Thanks! it's actually a very old black-bottom French baking dish of some sort.

 

Beautiful apartment! These stuffed shells are now on my menu for next week!

 

What a classic. It's one of my family's most favorite dishes. Yours looks absolutely divine! :-)

 

Definately not a cheat meal! These are beautiful, and funnily enough I actually bought some giant shells today to make for dinner as soon as we're actually home for dinner! Congrats on the first night meal though!

 

Your writing and your photos are so beautiful.

I know that feeling of moving from somewhere that was just so...home. My parents moved in November out of my childhood home up to a Lake about 20 minutes north. Going back and packing up their house was so strange and I felt like I'll never go back to my hometown - even though it's so close. But now that they're settled in and it's summer on the lake, I'm so happy to visit!

 

Tamsin
June 17, 2011

I've not made stuffed shells for ages. Thanks for the reminder! I think I'm going to make a batch with my homemade ricotta. Any ideas whether this will freeze ok?

HS: Yes, I like to freeze the un-sauced shells individually on a cookie sheet for a couple hours, then pile them in a double-freezer bag until I'm ready to use them. That way, I sauce and bake whatever quantity I'm after at the time.

 

nicole franzen
June 17, 2011

looks delicious, ultimate comfort food.

 

Laura
June 17, 2011

Making something comforting and traditional really is perfect for a night in a new home. I love your use of lemon zest in this recipe. It's just the right ingredient to lift it up. Your new place looks absolutely lovely, tres chic!

 

hungrysofia
June 17, 2011

Ok the shells look amazing but the moldings are what really got me. Congratulation on the new home!

 

greenthyme
June 17, 2011

Beautiful photos of your new place Heidi. I just love the detail of the architecture. I agree, there is something very comforting about stuffed shells, lasagna, and anything with red sauce for that matter.

 

This is a great recipe for Father's Day. Thanks for sharing, Heidi, and congratulations on the new apartment!

 

Willa
June 17, 2011

I must ask: what on earth do you do with all the lemon juice that must be flowing through your kitchen? Your zester works very hard, adding its talents to what seems like every other recipe but what about your poor juicer? Perhaps you have a mondo batch of lemonade every couple weeks?

I ask because I seem to have the same affliction: a growing bundle of naked lemons trying to dry out in my fridge.

 

Frankie
June 17, 2011

Great recipe! Stuffed shells are such comfort food - sounds like an awesome first night in a new place! Congrats on the apartment (the moulding is beautiful) and good luck with the unpacking. :)

 

Stuffed shells are a blank canvas, great recipe that calls for adding what you love, like chopped artichoke hearts and mushrooms for me!

 

sizzle
June 17, 2011

What a beautiful new home! I love all those old touches.

 

Denise
June 17, 2011

Stuffed shells is a favorite from my childhood. I can't wait to try them with lemon zest!

And the apartment is gorgeous! I'm green with envy!

 

KarmaCucina
June 17, 2011

Congratulations on your new digs! It looks gorgeous... And nothing like some simple Italian comfort food while in the midst of a move. I love the idea of spinach in the filling.

 

Liz
June 17, 2011

Love the details from your new apartment. Would love to see more of it!

 

Whitney
June 17, 2011

Heidi, that first picture is magical.

Seriously, I'm now craving stuffed shells before 10AM on a friday.

 

Kara
June 17, 2011

Stuffed shells...one of the best comfort foods on the planet and great for breaking in a new place to make it feel like home. =)

 

christianne
June 17, 2011

That molding is to die for! I am reminded of some of the beauriful mansions we have in New Orleans! Happy Move to you, make it be easy,stress free and keep it JUICY!

 

laura k
June 17, 2011

Yup, I've just added this to my meal planning list for next week...or maybe this weekend.

 

If only I ate cheese, and I almost feel like doing it anyway because those shells look so good. What a beautiful place you've moved into. Congratulations!

 

Ann
June 17, 2011

Your new place is beautiful! We make stuffed shells the exact same way... your photos are absolutely lovely!

 

Stephanie
June 17, 2011

Oh yum! I've recently become enamored of the ricotta-lemon zest combo, although I've been using in layered fruit desserts rather than savory dishes. I'll have to try with with some GF pizza/ pasta. Thanks for the idea!

 

Love the idea of using lemon zest and even adding olives/roasted veggies to the filling--thanks so much! My mom passed her very traditional recipe down to me and I love making this on Sundays with the option of freezing some or having leftovers for lunch during the week. It's also a great dish to offer to a friend/relative that's moving (unless you cook it yourself! :) or a family member that had surgery or had loved ones pass away, because even picky eaters/kids seem to like stuffed shells! Thanks!

 

Nieves
June 17, 2011

Nice apartment!
this pasta looks very good. I will make it for my boyfriend, he is italian... this means I really trust you!!!! ;)

 

Run Fast Travel Slow
June 17, 2011

That is so funny that you prepped the shells in one apartment and baked them in another.

I really do love shells -- I just had a sort of Provencal dish with pasta shells, mussels, and a tomato broth. So I'll enjoy trying this recipe.

 

I haven't made stuffed shells in ages!! And the idea of adding lemon zest is brilliant!

 

Carissa
June 17, 2011

I love the idea of lemon zest! Sounds tasty!

 

Your place is just beautiful. And I think stuffed shells is the perfect first meal. Nothing screams comfort homey food than a plate of ooey gooey stuffed shells. Yum!

 

Beverly
June 17, 2011

I just found your post and look forward to following you. I am excited to read today's post and see that you are in the bay area. And that you have gluten free dishes! Congratulations on the beautiful new apartment.

 

FYI, even though the intro says there's lemon zest in the sauce and the filling, the recipe only mentions it as part of the sauce. It says half the lemon zest goes on the bottom of the pan. I'm guessing the other half goes into the shell filling, but there's no mention of this.

I think this sounds AMAZING, by the way, and can't WAIT to try it. My husband will be thrilled by such a simple comfort food meal.

 

Pasta is the perfect meal after a busy day of lifting and moving boxes. So comforting. The details in your new home are stunning. Enjoy.

 

liv
June 17, 2011

Breathtaking moulding. No wonder you fell hard. I love stuffed shells, but wonder if my husband will. He's slightly cheese phobic. Maybe substitue sausage for the mozzarella?

 

Amanda
June 17, 2011

Wow. Absolutely gorgeous. I am also in the midst of a move, so maybe I will gather my Italian spirit and make those shells, they sound firmly grounded and deliciously simple. Happy settling in!

 

Lynna @wholeytreats
June 17, 2011

It's hot and muggy out in nyc right now, but these still look delicious. A good way to use up some summer basil and tomatoes, too! Might have to be dinner sometime next week...

 

Ann B.
June 17, 2011

I had been thinking of making this dish. You apartment is lovely. I hope you make many happy memories and dishes here.

 

Melissa
June 17, 2011

Thank you ... I have always wanted to make stuffed shells or manicotti. Can you suggest another non tomato sauce? Allergies to night shade vegs.

 

Tova
June 17, 2011

Stuffed shells are one of my absolute favorites. They remind me of my small hometown on the east coast where there's an Italian restaurant on practically every corner. I love that these look fresher than many that I've seen - without an obscene amount of mozzarella covering them up. I'll definitely be making these very soon!

 

Karla
June 17, 2011

This is one of my favorite childhood recipes. My mother always made the sauce and stuffing from scratch. I've never made them or asked her for her recipe (which in any case would consist of "Throw some ricotta and eggs together, ...." etc., with no measurements mentioned!) So thanks very much for posting this recipe, with delicious sounding variations, and enjoy your new home!

 

Colette
June 17, 2011

"Casualties of the boil"!!! I love that!

 

Sheldon Lebowitz
June 17, 2011

My wife loves cheese filled shells, but, the rest of us prefer beef filling. Can you post this variation?

 

Tam Glo
June 17, 2011

I think its the perfect first night meal.
I've been absent...why did you move?
New digs look awesome !

 

Paullett
June 17, 2011

I just made two huge pans of pasta for a family dinner party. One ricotta/spinach stuffed cannelloni with cream sauce & lots of provolone and one with red and white sauced hand made/rolled noodles. After seeing this I think I may make it too- it just looks so good and besides my Italian spouse will finish any left overs. Maybe with roasted vegetables and spring peas. YUM

 

Janice
June 17, 2011

Stunning! Both the apartment and the shells! Those details in a home are exactly what I would fall in love as well. Congratulations and good luck on your new adventure.

 

Angela (Oh She Glows)
June 17, 2011

Your place looks stunning! We have a lot of molding in our home too and I just love it. Now only if it wasn't painted with 10 layers of pink and green I'd be set... ;)

 

Amy (Newbie Veggie)
June 17, 2011

Your stuffed shells look amazing. I have actually made these in the past, but your recipe looks delicious, yet simple, and maybe easy to make on a busy evening. I have always loved non-meat entrees, and these look perfectly delicious. Thank you for the beautiful picture.

 

heather @ chiknpastry
June 17, 2011

Strangely enough, I also made stuffed shells as a housebreaking meal when we moved from Chicago to San Francisco last month! Great minds think alike ;).

Also, I love the details of the new place. Ours has lots of neat molding and stuff, too - I love the style of the places here in SF - so charming! Happy unpacking and settling in :).

 

Buon Giorno Heidi,
Love the photos of the new place! And then you top it off with Stuffed Shells that would make my Sicilian Nonni (Grand Parents) drool! Thank you for your beautiful Blog. Happy Solstice!
Blessings,
Jillian Lauren

 

Joanna
June 17, 2011

Beautiful comfort food. I have no idea where to get those giant shells from here in the south of Spain but I'll try as I really have to make this recipe. Have fun settling into your new pad and thanks.

 

Gretchen
June 17, 2011

How nice to be completely moved and anoint the new place with a first meal. Lemon zest in my pasta sauce from now on. I also chop 1/2 sweet onion really small and nearly burn it while sauteing it to add to my sauce. Learned this at fab Italian restaurant I work at. Try it sometime?

 

Isin
June 17, 2011

Gule gule oturun ! Which can be translated as "May you be happy in your new house "

Thanks for this tasty recipe. We have a similar version in Turkey with meat as a filling but this one seems to be a great alternative...

 

Meredith
June 17, 2011

I make these with homemade manicotti noodles. The noodle is like a crepe and it's as fast to make a batch as it is to cook dried pasta. I like your lemon zest innovation.

 

Susanne
June 17, 2011

Heidi, love your site and recipes! Enjoy the new apartment.. cannot wait to see more recipes and details..
Greetings from Vienna, Austria

 

burkie
June 17, 2011

stuffed shells are a favorite in this house, but i haven't made them in years. i should, though, so thanks!

 

Beverly Jane
June 17, 2011

Dear Heidi, I knew your new home would have this lovely woodcarving and window treatments. I too love the old and always want to see them rehabilitated to their original glory. The shells look awesome too. My hubby love them and your recipe is much like mine. God bless you in your new home!!!

 

Betsy
June 17, 2011

I am always sooo thrilled when I learn I already make something the way you do! Good luck in your new place. Being intimately aquainted with so many lovely homes in SF I can understand your mixed feelings.

 

Carol Couturier
June 17, 2011

Love your blog. I just purchased your cookbook. Am waiting to get it. I have tried some of your recipes from on-line & enjoyed them all. Good luck on your new place. It looks beautiful..I have to make the stuffed shells with lemon zest.

 

Despina
June 17, 2011

Love the lemon zest, ricotta, tomato combination..
Simple and gorgeous!

 

Khushboo
June 17, 2011

Looks great and your new house sounds beautiful. I should remember to get pasta shells on my next trip to the store.

 

The shells look so homey, and I can only imagine how great they tasted. I just moved into a new apartment two weeks ago and have been missing getting into the kitchen and making a meal with all the mess around us. Your almond soba noodles really hit the spot last evening and gave us the frist taste of feeling at home in the new apartment. Thanks!

 

Tammy
June 17, 2011

This recipe looks so yummy! I think I will try it this weekend.

I also love the details of the new place. With those previews it must gorgeous! Congrats!

 

MOSAK
June 17, 2011

Great recipe! - simple and tasty.

LOVE the pics. Reminds me of the house I grew up in in Ohio.

Gretchen - we use caramelized sweet onions in just about anything..... Didn't know that was an Italian "thing".

Meredith - any chance you could share your recipe for "homemade manicotti noodles"? Sounds wonderful!

 

Christy
June 17, 2011

Read this today, was inspired and made it tonight for dinner, absolutely fabulous! I loved the idea of adding lemon zest, I also added some to the cheese filling. Everyone loved it! Would for sure make this again and for dinner guests. Thank you for the inspiration!

 

Alain Arango
June 17, 2011

OMG, Heidi.... The crown molding in your new place is to die for ! They have inspired me to make a three tiered Robin blue wedding cake with fondant applications to resemple your crown molding. I shall post pictures soon!
CIAO
- Alain

 

Vanessa @ Project Zen
June 17, 2011

Looks like Sunday Supper to me!

 

I make a similar stuffing for baked portobello mushrooms. The lemon zest and chilli with the bland ricotta does it for me! Good luck in your new home - I miss beautiful cornices (living in a modern city now). How gorgeous to look up at that view.

 

TOM
June 18, 2011

WOW!!! What a beautiful place!!! The craftsmanship is from a by-gone era!! You are sooooo lucky!!! ENJOY!

 

Hi Heidi,
Love the recipe and how beautiful your Blog is. You are truly an Artist! I just want to share my Vegan thoughts on Stuffed Shells! I Puree Firm tofu in my food processor with Olive oil, a little sauteed Garlic, South River Brand Chick Pea Miso (adds a Cheesy flavor) and Some Eden Brand Umeboshi Paste. Blend to a Creamy Smooth consistency and then I fold in Yellow onion which I have gently cooked till translucent in Olive Oil and Sea Salt. I add finely minced Basil and Pipe or spoon the filling into my Shells! Voila Vegan Stuffed Shells! This recipe can be found in the Future on my Blog :
nourishingcuisine.blogspot.com Thank you Heidi!

 

Sini
June 18, 2011

This looks seriously delicious. Don't even know why I have never made stuffed shells before...

Your new home seems pretty promising. I love old houses.

 

Merry
June 18, 2011

Sounds like a wonderful gift for father's day to me! Or any day, for that matter.

 

genevieve
June 18, 2011

I feel like this is what comfort food is meant to be. Not terrible for you, but definitely terribly delicious. These look amazing, and I'm loving the idea of adding a dash of lemon; totally something I need to try!

Your new home looks lovely. Best of luck with making it your own!

 

Evi
June 18, 2011

I love stuffed shells, and these look great. Except that I cannot eat ricotta! =( Beautiful details of the new place.

 

Stephanie
June 18, 2011

I am making those stuffed shells this week! Yum. The new pad looks amazing! I know what you mean about leaving rooms empty... after we painted ours, I didn't want to put a thing on the walls. That wears off eventually though!

 

Karen
June 18, 2011

This photo really captures the dish and makes you want to eat stuffed shells! Definitely worth trying. Yum!

 

aida mollenkamp
June 18, 2011

Oh, stuffed shells -- they are my ultimate comfort food. My mom would stuff the spinach-ricotta filling into jumbo shells and would throw a dash of nutmeg or a stick of cinnamon in the sauce. I still make them whenever I'm feeling nostalgic. Congrats on the move and the new place!

HS: Still representing P. Street - just in the other direction :) Let's hook up for drinks/lunch soon A. xo

 

Jim Murphy
June 18, 2011

The photos of the stuffed shells actually look appetizing. Thanks

 

David Morris
June 18, 2011

As a number of posts have commented earlier, your photos are beautiful, real and approachable. As a professional food photographer for years, I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the great post. I always enjoy.

HS: Thanks David!

 

Natalie
June 18, 2011

I made this recipe tonight, it was delicious! Thanks for posting it. I have to say though, it was a bit too spicy for some in my family. I think that next time I will cut down on the red pepper flakes. But, really easy and super delicious!

 

Ira
June 19, 2011

I have never used shells but will certainly give them a whirl soon. The stuffing that I would use includes spinach and Parmesan cheese. The problem, of course, would be that the tomato sauce's flavor overwhelms that of the stuffing. Oh Well we do have to make sacrifices -Don't we. ENJOY

 

Anna Johnston
June 19, 2011

Wow., you've put me to shame, I too have just moved but I think you did a better job of your first meal than I., love the zesty touch, awesome. Will remember that tip for next time we indulge in the shells, a fave of mine too :)
Happy homemaking :)

 

Dr. Sarah Cimperman
June 19, 2011

I love the lemon zest in there!

 

Wow that looks so delicious. What a nice warm comforting meal for a first night in a new place :)

 

I always forget about stuffed shells! I think boarding school and college scarred me with these early on, but having seen this I am ready to try again. Like the idea of using olives and other items...thanks.

 

Lisa
June 19, 2011

This recipe wowed me! The sauce is so fresh and the addition of lemon zest and chives is genius. I used Rustichella shells..... expensive, but they were well worth the extra money. My family was ecstatic.

 

Catherine from San Francisco
June 19, 2011

This recipe was FANTASTIC. Will definitely make it again. Use low fat ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Could not tell at all!

 

Suzanne in Santa Cruz
June 19, 2011

Heidi - congrats on the lovely new-old residence. I'd love to see more pics. BTW, we are visiting up in Portland and went to Powells -of course. I thought I'd get your new book there. Well, they are sold out at all of their many branches and have it on backorder! I'm so happy for you. Thanks for all the great recipes and just a wonderful blog! Cheers!

 

Lena
June 20, 2011

I have a container of ricotta waiting for me, I think I'll make these soon. Sounds delicious with the chives and lemon zest!

 

Scott
June 20, 2011

Heidi - this is the 1st recipe of yours that I have cooked and it was great. The lemon zest and red pepper flakes really made it fantastic and unique. While eating the past, my daughter kept saying "delicious". After she had finished her 1st serving she said she wanted to say thank you. My wife said you are welcome and Ella said no. She clasped her hands and said "God thank you for this delicious food. Amen. Can I have some more?"

 

Caroline
June 20, 2011

I have a few rectangular ramekins that I found at the Dollar Store... they're the perfect size for 3-4 shells. Everytime I make a batch I set aside a few uncooked shells to freeze in the ramekins with the sauce and the cheese. They bake beautifully in the toaster oven at work, and are perfect for those days when I have nothing else to bring for lunch.

 

Julia
June 20, 2011

I've made stuffed shells for years and am eager to try your recipe. I tried to improve the flavor by adding a three-cheese blend or herbs. Your idea of including lemon zest is great. By the way, your new home looks beautiful!

 

Sues
June 20, 2011

Wow, I don't know what I like more: the delicious-looking shells or the details of your stunningly beautiful new home. I would quickly fall in love with that too! :)

 

Jessica
June 20, 2011

Heidi-
This post made me want to ask you, I'm about to orchestrate a similar cross-town short distance move. Do you have any tips for doing so with a minimal amount of life interruption? Did you follow a "moving plan" or anything? Thanks! Jessica


HS: Hi Jessica - I didn't follow a moving plan, although, maybe I should have. But actually, our move went quite smoothly. We packed up closets and cupboards first, leaving out only the necessities - for me that meant, anything I might take on, say, a three week trip. We used good boxes, uniform in size, either small/medium. That made the load-in of the truck much better. And labeled everything well. Then, for each room, we'd try to consolidate everything still left into one drawer/area/etc. And clean the rest. I also tend to organize by bin - i.e. tools in one bin, cookie cutters in one bin, etc. And that makes for easier unpacking. Also, if I hadn't used/worn something in a year, I asked myself if I really needed to keep it. If not, I took it to Goodwill or gave it away. Hope this helps a bit - good luck with your move!

 

Justin
June 20, 2011

great stuff, I can't wait to try this recipe.. btw the photos are amazing too

 

Melinda
June 20, 2011

I love stuffed shells! I usually fill them with cottage cheese for a healthy-but-richer flavor, but the lemon zest is an interesting twist I never would have thought of. I need to try this!

 

Shara
June 20, 2011

This was Father's Day dinner - it was awesome. Even better for lunch . Forgot the lemon zest - just an excuse to make them again soon.

 

Angela
June 20, 2011

The stars must be aligned because your stuffed shells recipe is timed perfectly with smittenkitchen's homemade ricotta recipe. I think I shall try making both this week!

 

Telebrands
June 20, 2011

These stuffed shells look wonderful! Thanks for the post (and recipe).

 

meg jones
June 20, 2011

the new apartment looks gorgeous - love all that molding, and the lighting looks beautiful.

stuffed shells always make me so nostalgic. my mother made them all the time, and it was always such a warm and homey meal. thanks for reminding me of this - i'll have to whip these up soon.

 

Emily G.
June 20, 2011

Ah-- stuffed shells just scream "home" to me. My mom used to make huge batches of them and then freeze them for dinner way down the road.

This is a great recipe, thanks for sharing!

 

MHass
June 20, 2011

Fabulous!

 

jessie
June 20, 2011

Always leaping before I look at the recipe. :)

Am I missing what we are to do with the second 1/2 of the zest? I put it in the filling. Also, is the 15 minutes uncovered part of the total 45? Reading as I'm cooking and so these answers may very well be staring at me in the face.

HS: Hi Jessie - it's ~45 minutes total - I'll reword so it's a bit more clear. And the zest goes in the filling :)

 

Amanda
June 20, 2011

Love your post! How funny, my husband and I just moved too! We bought our first house! Congrats on your new place!

 

Susan
June 20, 2011

It's been a while since I've visited. Changes for you and your young man! Congrats! Going by 'the old place' is always part of making the break from one place before moving on to the next... heck, I still go by the old homestead where our kids grew up and marvel at the changes that the new owners have made ... sigh. A plate of pasta and cheese makes all things better, though! Your sauce and filling with the lemon touch is a nice tease ... I like putting some mint in my sauce with the basil...

 

Nuts about food
June 21, 2011

What a beautiful apartment! I fell in love with the bow window and moldings in my apartment in Milan too. The mirrors and detail in yours are amazing. I love places with a history. I haven't made stuffed shells for ages, thank you for inspiring me!

 

cory
June 21, 2011

what a perfect first night meal! i dont think its cheating at all....limited clean up, you can prepare ahead, and sooo homey and comfy tasting - i love it! my stomach is growling and its only 10:30a :)

your apartment looks darling - i just love that crown molding and then mirror detail. amazing - congrats and heres to a lovely time there! :)

 

sally
June 21, 2011

Love the molding and the stuffed shells looks delicious!

 

Linda NYC
June 21, 2011

Heidi,

Congratulations on the new place - wow, GORGEOUS details.

Also, those shells look delicious - can't wait to make 'em,

 

Carolyn
June 21, 2011

Your recipe looks great and the pictures make me want to try it. My only issue is, I'm not a fan of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. Do you have an alternative to using either of these two cheeses?

 

Jean
June 21, 2011

Your recipe inspired me to run to the store last night & make these. I never thought of putting lemon zest in the filling, but I did it & it was FANTASTIC! Hands down, it made the dish!
Thank you!

 

Lena
June 21, 2011

My house loves stuffed shells too. I do half ricotta, half tofu and no one notices the difference. I like to cut the richness and get the tofu-y benefits. :) I like to add chopped spinach too. Yum. I think I will make some this weekend!

 

Ricotta and I are currently in the midst of an intense love affair, so this dish strikes a chord. Do you ever make your own? (ricotta, I mean).

 

AmyR
June 21, 2011

I've been craving stuffed shells for the past 6 months or so and made this recipe last night for dinner. Threw in several big handfuls of raw chopped spinach into the ricotta mixture(couldn't taste it at all but I have a surplus of spinach and am putting it into everything I can) and liberal fresh parsley on the finished product. RAVE reviews from my family. I think they may have been the tastiest stuffed shells I've ever had. And, I agree completely about the lemon zest giving it a wonderful kick. I used a whole lemon's worth. Thanks for the great recipe!

 

Denise
June 21, 2011

Made this yesterday - very good added onions - I love onions and a little basil to the sauce.. paired it with sauteed Kale.. yummy!

 

Rpat
June 21, 2011

Just made these on fathers day and again today. Heidi- question about prepping ahead. I made the sauce and I stuffed the shells and stored both separate in the fridge. Now I just need to slather on sauce and bake tomorrow. Is that ok or should I store it in the fridge with it slathered in sauce???

HS: Either way Rpat.

 

molly
June 21, 2011

oh, man. i would have moved in a HEARTBEAT! gorgeous, lovely, welcome home.

and stuffed shells, well, is there any better homecoming?

 

Sunny
June 21, 2011

Just was wondering if you used fresh mozz or the shredded in the package in the dairy section. I would guess fresh would be the better of the two?

 

Alex Godfrey
June 21, 2011

I made these stuffed pasta shells for dinner last night and they were gorgeous. Thanks for the great recipe.

 

Rebecca
June 21, 2011

I am in the process of moving too ... this gave me a good idea for a simple dinner meal I can cook up. Thanks!

 

Deborah Dowd
June 22, 2011

Your shells and your new apartment look rich and elegant!

 

John
June 22, 2011

Great recipe - those shells look delicious, I'll certainly try this in the not so distant future.

I must commend you on your photography also, the photo of them in the pan looks great.

 

lindazzzzz
June 22, 2011

I'm a newbie, a question about your tomato sauce: Is it just as good with fresh tomatoes? How do you convert from canned to fresh? Anyone reading who could help please chime in!

 

Alexandra Avdey
June 22, 2011

mmm this looks so good! I think I am going to make it on Sunday night while watching the sneak preview for Extreme Chef on The Food Network

 

Alexandra
June 22, 2011

mmm this looks so good! I think I am going to make it on Sunday night while watching the sneak preview for Extreme Chef on The Food Network

 

Lety
June 22, 2011

This is our dinner tonight, with homemade ricotta. You have a wonderful blog. Your photos are beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for the delicious recipes.

 

Rocky Mountain Woman
June 22, 2011

I haven't made stuffed shells in a long long time...

Thanks for the inspiration!

 

Meg
June 22, 2011

This is amazing. I was not sparing with my Kalamanta olives, and the tang of the olives with the chives and lemon zest... superb. Due to a sad disaster with an otherwise delicious fresh pasta sheet, I made this as a lasagna. And this was the first pasta sauce I've made that I was happy with, so thank you! I will recommend using fresh mozzarella, the texture and taste are superior to store brand blocks!

 

Krista
June 22, 2011

Sounds great! Have you ever frozen these? I am thinking this would be a wonderful frozen gift for a pregnant friend.

 

Emily
June 22, 2011

My husband and I made this for dinner last night - delicious! We have both of your cookbooks and everything we have made out of them has been beyond fantastic -- you are quickly becoming our favorite cook! Keep those recipes coming!

 

One in a Brazilian
June 22, 2011

The crown molding is GORGEOUS!!!

lindazzzzz - I generally use fresh tomatoes and it tastes pretty amazing.

 

Lety
June 22, 2011

My second post today. Now after having made and thoroughly enjoyed this meal. Wow, i will definitely be making these again. Since I love lemon I added all of the lemon zest to the filling of homemade ricotta. I also had a bit of leftover pesto, so I added that to the sauce. So delicious, thanks for the inspiration.

 

Khali Whatley
June 23, 2011

I made this recipe tonight and my husband & I ate it in one sitting. It's sure to become one of our favourites. Thank you for sharing such a simple, perfect dish.

 

jess white
June 23, 2011

what lovely photos, you've made something so simple look so divine!

 

ren
June 23, 2011

Hello Heidi! Thank you for the awesome tip about the lemon zest. I added some to the ricotta and spinach mixture for my lasagna rolls (didn't have shells!) and it was phenomenal. My hubby spent five minutes trying to figure out what was different about it before I revealed the secret ingredient. Such a small thing really made the dish so light and wonderful. Thanks again! xx

 

Juliah
June 23, 2011

I made this last night and it was amazing!

 

Anonymous
June 23, 2011

Made this pasta recipe exactly as written, turned out absolutely perfect, wouldn't change a thing. The lemon zest added that mystery flavour that everyone liked but couldn't guess! Perfect do-ahead dish.

 

Carolyn
June 23, 2011

The apartment looks fantastic! And I'm impressed that you endeavored to cook on your first night, I always order takeout when I move...even if I drink some champagne to toast the new place! I've never been a big fan of stuffed shells because I don't like ricotta, but lately I've been using goat cheese as a replacement and loving them!

 

Peggy
June 23, 2011

Not sure if anyone has mentioned it. In the recipe you say, "1 bunch of chives, chives". Thought it was cute though. Makes me think Jivy chives. :)


HS: Good eyes Peggy! Should say minced - will update.

 

Julia
June 23, 2011

I've never had stuffed shells before and so I made this last night. Even though I love lemon and ricotta together, I did not care for the lemon and ricotta with marinara sauce. Glad I tried it though, but will experiment with it and minus the lemon.

 

liz
June 24, 2011

Both the pictures of the shells and apartment are making me drool! Can't wait to make a batch of these, i also share your love of lemon zest!

 

Kristin
June 24, 2011

Made this on father's day. The lemon is inspired. I went a bit easy on the red pepper flakes so my girls wouldn't overact to the heat and they were absolutely perfect. Great timing!

 

Geri
June 24, 2011

Love your new home great style!
About the seashells, when I make the filling I've used this combination: ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, chopped flat leaf parsley along with eggs, white pepper and salt. Other times instead of parsley used spinach. I love the idea of using lemon zest. Enjoy your new home Heidi!

 

Chika
June 25, 2011

Just made these and the flavor is incredible! The lemon and the red pepper flakes really do set it off. First time ever making stuffed shells and I feel like a pro. :)

 

Mahnaz
June 26, 2011

I made this dish last week and it was great. Plan to make this again for a retirement party this week.
thank you for the recipe.

 

Jennifer
June 27, 2011

These look so delicious, and I'm truly impressed you had a meal on the table your first night in your new (gorgeous) place...I would've been ordering a pizza and a six-pack!

I'm sure someone else has mentioned this, but I love to do a mixture of ricotta and tofu -- gives it a little protein punch and I don't feel as guilty with all that cheese (because I have to add parmesan to the top too).

Congrats on the move.

 

rupid
June 27, 2011

I made these last night and loved it! The sauce with a kick is delicious and the shells are perfect- I sprinkled the mozz on top instead of in the mixture and added sauteed spinach, summer squash and peppers to the ricotta mixture. I made my first batch of ricotta for this as well =) All great! Your new apt looks beautiful, congratulations!

 

katie anne
June 27, 2011

have this in the oven now, and am excited for some "moving" stuffed shells. my husband and i are on the tail end of a 2.5 week stint of staying with different friends in between our leases, and home-cooked comfort food is definitely in order! i'm learning to improvise with the different gadgets & equipment [no cheese grater or zester!] ... but did add some paper thin zucchini coins below and on top of the shells and hope that is good :) thanks as always!

 

Jessi
June 28, 2011

Oooh, lovely! Just the right thing to put in the oven during these cold southern hemisphere nights... Thanks Heidi!

 

what a cool idea to use pepper flakes to spice things up a little! will definitely try that in my next tomato sauce!

 

denise
June 28, 2011

Heidi,

Your new home is lovely!! I was remembering a cute story you told awhile back at the other apt, where the birdies would come to your kitchen window. I hope they can find their way to your new home, or at least be looked after by the new people there.

 

Peggy
June 28, 2011

Just made this for dinner and my husband says its his new favorite thing! Delicious, Heidi, thank you. The lemon zest is a stroke of genius, the chives add a delicate flavor as well. And the spicy sauce was the perfect accompaniment. This will definitely go into our dinner rotation!

 

Ashley
June 28, 2011

Hi Heidi,
I'm a huge fan of your work. I have enjoyed many of your recipes and the second I saw this post, I knew I wanted to make it! I don't, however, eat dairy. So, I made your version for my husband and a dairy-free version for myself by just changing the filling. It was successful and delicious and I thought you might have other readers who are dairy-free. Here is what I did for the filling (everything else was the same as yours!)
Filling: 2 15 ounce cans of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed.
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp oregano
drizzle of olive oil
squeeze of a lemon
water, if needed
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a thick, creamy mixture. Add a little water if the mixture is too stiff. Stuff the shells and bake as directed. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes.

 

jugaccuse
June 28, 2011

Lizon
June 29, 2011

Hi!

I'd like to prepare this recipe friday but I can't find the red pepper flakes. Can you tell me with what can I replace it?

Thank you and congratulations for this wonderful blog!

Lizon

 

Johanna
June 29, 2011

This looks absolutely fantastic! About half my family is vegetarian. It's always nice to be able to find recipes that are vegetarian-friendly, but still appealing to the meat-eaters.

 

Nan
June 29, 2011

I made these last night and they were awesome! The lemon zest is a stroke of genius in this dish. I also just made your zucchini bread with the curry in it. Wow! I can't wait to make it again. I did make my own crystallized ginger instead of store bought which got me to thinking that a post or a series might be cool on this site for those of us who are interested in "making" our own ingredients occasionally. Tonight, I'm tackling the Buttermilk Farro Salad. Thanks for such a creative and beautifully photographed site!



HS: Thanks Nan!

 

Sara Graham
June 29, 2011

I made this two nights ago and it was awesome. I honestly cannot believe how easy and wonderfully tasty they were - the lemon zest really added the wonderful undertone for the sauce. Cannot stop talking about it.

 

Elina (Russian Bites)
June 30, 2011

Baked stuffed shells are such a comfort food. I'm super impressed you cooked during the last days of moving. That week is usually all takeout in our household. Homemade is definitely better :)