Cheesy Stuffed Shells
The appeal of comfort food wanes if it's a pain to make. Our streamlined method delivers.
Why This Recipe Works
For a quicker version of stuffed shells, we got right down to stuffing them—no parboiling first. We found that the quickest and easiest way to fill the raw pasta shells was to choose jumbo shells with wide openings and pipe in the filling using a pastry bag. For a supercheesy filling, we mixed creamy ricotta, shredded fontina, and grated Pecorino Romano cheeses with savory minced garlic, fragrant chopped fresh basil, and dried oregano. We stirred cornstarch into the filling to keep the ricotta from becoming grainy once it was baked. We also stirred in two eggs to make the filling pipable and to keep it from oozing out of the shells during baking. Smothering the filled shells in a thin tomato sauce meant the raw pasta cooked through properly during baking, absorbing liquid while still leaving behind a full-bodied—not chunky or dehydrated—sauce. We baked the shells first covered to trap in as much moisture as possible and cook the pasta and then uncovered to brown the cheese sprinkled over the top and reduce the sauce.