A declaration from the Ranch. This is, in fact, our new favorite pasta casserole. We loved it so much that I found myself feeling anxious while waiting to tell you about it.
How long has it been since you’ve cooked with those big graceful shells? Aren’t they fun? They’re easy to cook. Easy to stuff. And they eagerly wrap and cradle your favorite ingredients to bake into bliss. They’re a great thing to make when you’re feeding a crowd…well, because they make everyone happy. And the best part is that you can stuff them with so many different ingredients, so you never get bored.
It’s a comfort-demanding time of year, it’s a casserole-demanding time of year, and it’s an oven-demanding time of year. So give this one a try while you’re still sporting your fleece lined slippers.
This recipe comes from Food and Wine Magazine. Jumbo pasta shells filled with a mixture ground pork, cheese, and panko. Covered with your favorite marinara and mozzarella … drop the mic killer. I changed it up a bit by combining ricotta and cottage cheese, as opposed to just ricotta…because that’s how we like our lasagna. I also added Italian spices and fennel seed to the marinara. In using raw ground pork to bake this casserole, I found some grease swimming on top after it was baked. I simply skimmed that off with a large spoon.
Let me know how you like it.
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup panko
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt
- 5 cups prepared marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 pound fresh lightly salted mozzarella torn
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the shells until they are al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a baking sheet to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the pork, ricotta, cottage cheese, panko, garlic, egg, Parmigiano, the 1/2 cup of parsley, 1/4 cup of the cream, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; mix well.
In a medium bowl, mix the marinara sauce with the remaining 1/4 cup of cream, the italian spices and fennel seed,, Spoon half of the sauce into a 9-by-13-inch casserole baking dish or lasagna pan. Stuff each shell with a heaping tablespoon of the filling and nestle in the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and scatter the mozzarella on top.
Cover the baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, until bubbling and the pork is cooked through. Let stand for 10 minutes, then garnish with parsley and serve.
In a pasta-kinda mood? Take a look at this
Pork and Cheese Stuffed Jumbo Shells …They’re what’s for Dinner.