Cheesy Stuffed Shells

WOW this is good! I've been meaning to make this for a couple weeks now, but since it doesn't use meat I kept putting it off... so glad I finally made it tonight. Delicious! The sauce is also so good I would use this for spaghetti and any other time I need pasta sauce. I usually just use Ragu, but this is way better!


Sauce:
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil (I only used about half of a 1/3 c)
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced (2 tsp)
1 28 oz can crushed red tomatoes
1 14 oz can crushed red tomatoes

Filling:
1 15 oz container low-fat/part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1 c grated red-fat mozzarella
1 bunch of chives, minced

25-30 jumbo dried pasta shells

Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan and set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To make the sauce, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, 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 let cool.

To make the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until combined, then stir in the mozzarella, 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. I only cooked mine about 7 min. Drain and let cool long enough to handle with your hands.

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, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve hot.

Original recipe found here.

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