Clay and I just ate this meal for dinner… and we couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. It’s the perfect meal for everyone. Even the pickiest of eaters would love this dish. It’s overflowing with cheese in every bite and smothered in the perfect tomato/meat sauce. Then topped with a little more mozzarella…because why not?
It kind of reminds me of a lasagna, but easier and faster than layering a million sheets of pasta on top of one another. It’s the “lazy mans lasagna”, if that makes sense? It’s so perfectly cheesy and meaty at the same time. I think kids would even love this one!
Tonight I served this with a side of broccoli (because gotta get those greens in!) and some sourdough from a local bakery. Although, a lovely salad would pair wonderfully as well! It makes a ton so leftovers… so we will definitely be eating this tomorrow! I think a meaty pasta is the best left over lunch or dinner. It still tastes good, if not better! It also keeps its structure very well. A simple zap in the microwave and you’re good to go!
I don’t know about you, but I grew up with leftovers. Pasta for dinner, makes for lunch tomorrow! We didn’t like to waste food so I try to implement that outlook and resourcefulness into my life today. It’s no secret we eat at home 99% of the time. I love to make my own meals and know exactly where my food comes from. Plus, it’s cheaper! As a couple of 25/26 year olds we don’t have a dollar to waste. So don’t knock leftovers! They are wonderful…especially these stuffed shells!
PRODUCTS I LOVE:
FOUR CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE RAGU
Prep time: 15 minutes
Stove cook time: 1 hour
Oven cook time: 27 minutes
Total time: 1 hour + 45 minutes
- 12 oz box jumbo shells
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large carrot, small dice
- 1 piece celery, small dice
- 1/2 large sweet onion
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 lb ground beef (lean)
- 1/3 lb milk Italian sausage
- 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, blended till smooth in blender
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt, more or less to taste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 cup pasta water
For stuffing the shells: mix ingredients together
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, good quality
- 1 cup mozzarella
- Cook pasta for about 9 minutes (according to package instructions for baked pasta).
- Drain but do not rinse. Reserve 1 cup pasta water for later use.
- The shells should still be slightly hard in the middle. They will finish cooking in the oven later on.
- Place olive oil, onion, carrot and celery in a large pot (I use my Le cruset). Cook on medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté for another minute until aromatic.
- Add in ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook until meat is browned through. (At this point I like to use a flat wooden spoon to crush the meat into small pieces.)
- Add in blended San Marzano tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a soft boil.
- Add in dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt and heavy cream. Mix.
- Add pasta water to the sauce a couple tbsp at a time, I used about 1/3 cup. This will thin out the sauce a bit.
- Turn heat down to simmer and let cook for an additional 30-45 minutes with a lid on, mixing occasionally. This will allow the flavors to develop.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Stuff the shells with the four cheese mixture and place on top of the sauce.
- Pour the remaining amount of sauce over the stuffed shells.
- Top with mozzarella cheese.
- Place in the oven for 25 minutes on the middle rack.
- After 25 minutes, turn the oven to a high broil and cook for an additional 2 minutes (optional). This will make the top of the shells/cheese golden in color.