Shells Stuffed with Cheese

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These cheese-filled rinds are made with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese; and baked in marinara sauce. It's an easy family meal Monday through Friday!

Preparation time: 20 minutes.

Cooking time: 35 minutes.

6 servings

June 23, 2019

This post of cheese-filled shell recipes is sponsored by Emmi Cheese. I received compensation, but all opinions and content are mine.

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Cheese … well. Pasta … well. Marinara sauce … good. Put it all together to make these cheese-filled shells, and your lasagna recipe just got its latest rival! These jumbo pasta shells are filled with three types of cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, baked with a marinara sauce until beautifully bubbly and served with fresh basil. It's an easy vegetarian dinner to prepare that is definitely a family favorite!

What type of cheese is best for cheese-filled rinds?

Traditionally, this recipe is made with three types of cheese:

  1. Ricotta cheese it is the main cheese that gives the recipe a creamy texture
  2. Grated mozzarella it is an easy to melt cheese with a smooth and delicate flavor, perfect for Italian dishes
  3. Parmesan gives it a bolder, more nutty flavor to balance mozzarella

Today I am exchanging Parmesan cheese for Kaltbach Le Cremeux cheese. I know what you're thinking? Kalt-what ?? It is basically a cave-aged alpine cheese imported from Switzerland. And here is why it totally works in this recipe if you can get it in your hands! Each Kaltbach cheese is carefully aged in the deep, cool Kaltbach cave.

Ideally, while cooking the pasta shells, mix the ingredients for the cheese fillingSun. That includes ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Kaltbach Le Cremeux cheese, an egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

what does all that mean? Well, it means you have a distinctive flavor that adds body and interest to these shells stuffed with cheese. In fact, aging in caves creates these complex flavors that are a balance of earth, walnut and wood. I tell you … so unique!

How to make peels stuffed with ricotta cheese

Cook the shells

Start by cooking the pasta shells a little shy of al dente. For me that was around 8 minutes. Then immediately drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and place the pasta in an oven-safe baking dish filled with half the marinara sauce. Placing the shells directly into the sauce helps them stick together as you fill them. These are the shells before cooking.

Mix the cheese filling

Ideally, while cooking the pasta shells, mix the ingredients for the cheese fillingSun. That includes ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Kaltbach â„¢ cheese, an egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Put it all together

Now you're ready to fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture.

After finishing filling the 12 shells, add tablespoons of the remaining sauce on top, add a little extra cheese and bake in the preheated oven.

You will know that these cheese-filled shells are ready because all cheese will melt, marinara sauce will bubble and peels lightly placed. Finish with fresh basil and get ready to gobble up!

Tips for making shells stuffed with ricotta cheese

  1. Do not overcook pasta. In fact, although many instructions for cheese-filled rinds will suggest cooking pasta al dente, I recommend 2 minutes before al dente. This is because these shells will bake in the oven with the sauce and cheese for more than half an hour.
  2. Rinse the shells with cold water after boiling. This prevents them from sticking together as you prepare the cheese mixture and fill the pasta shells. Just make sure to drain very well so you don't add excess moisture to the plate.
  3. Add a layer of sauce to the pan before adding the shells. This helps keep the shells moist so they don't stick together as you fill them. It is also easier to serve them in this way. It seems to me that there is no need to spray the baking dish or spray the pasta shells with oil. Marinara sauce does the trick!
  4. Use a large zip-lock bag to place the cheese filling on the shells. This is a fun little trick to speed up the assembly of the cheese-filled pasta. After mixing the filling, put it in a big enough bag, cut a corner and put it in the tanks. This trick saves time, creates less clutter, and results in a better overall presentation.

Frequent questions

Can you make stuffed cheese shells beforehand?

Yes. You can make these filled shells 1-2 days in advance. Boil the pasta, fill the shells and place in the fridge. When you're ready to bake, pour the sauce over the pasta and then bake. If you pour the sauce a couple of days in advance, it will affect the texture of the pasta.

Can you freeze the stuffed shells?

Yes. You can freeze them before baking and without the sauce. Simply place them on a freezer safe baking sheet or in a disposable aluminum tray. You can also transfer them from the baking dish once frozen in a freezer bag. I recommend doing this if you want some flexibility in the number of shells you cook for the second meal.

When it's ready to bake, just remove it from the freezer, pour in the sauce, add any additional cheese and bake while the shells are frozen. Just add an additional 5-10 minutes of cooking time.

These cheese-filled shell recipes are similar in flavor and texture to lasagna, but with extra extra cheese which is stuffed into the cutest jumbo pasta shells. You can play around with the types of cheese you use and try something new and bold like the Kaltbach â„¢ cheese I used. All in all, it is a deliciously cheesy comfort dish It will surely be a success with your family and friends!

Thank you Emmi Cheese for sponsoring this post.

More pasta recipes:

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Shells Stuffed with Cheese

These cheese-filled rinds are made with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese; and baked in marinara sauce. It's an easy family meal Monday through Friday!

Course: dinner

Cuisine: American, Italian

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Calories: 404kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package jumbo pasta shells

  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Kaltbach Le Cremeux cheese, divided

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon of salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 – 28 ounces canned marinara sauce

  • Fresh basil to serve

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 ° F degrees.

  • Boil a large pot of lightly salted water. Add pasta and cook 8 to 10 minutes or slightly less than al dente; Drain and rinse with cold water.

  • In a large bowl, combine ricotta, Kaltbach cheese, half mozzarella cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Spread ¾ of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.

  • Place the cheese mixture on the cooked shells and place them on the baking sheet. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

  • Bake in covered preheated oven (preferably but not necessary) for 30-35 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. Freezing instructions: You can freeze the shells before baking without the sauce. Simply place them on a freezer safe baking sheet or in a disposable aluminum tray. You can also freeze them in a baking dish, and once frozen, store them in a freezer bag so you can select the amount to bake. When it's ready to bake, just remove it from the freezer, pour in the sauce, add any extra cheese on top and bake with the frozen shells, adding an additional 5-10 minutes to the baking time. Make advice in advance: You can make these filled shells 1-2 days in advance. Boil the pasta, fill the shells and place in the fridge. When you're ready to bake, pour the sauce over the pasta and then bake. If you pour the sauce a couple of days in advance, it will affect the texture of the pasta. Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However, here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.

  • TO make this lower fat, you can substitute ricotta for ricotta
  • Do not hesitate to use other types of cheese that you like than suggested, but the combination is amazing together.

Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary depending on the specific ingredients you use. This information should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist. Nutritional value is for one serving, equivalent to two giant shells.

Nutrition

Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 39 g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1214mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1140 IU | Vitamin C: 9.2mg | Calcium: 384 mg | Iron: 2.5mg

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