Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno (Italian Name of the Recipe)

Yield: About 30 Stuffed Shells, Serving 6


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 big egg
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
1 pound jumbo pasta shells
10 fresh basil leaves
1½ pounds fresh ricotta or packaged whole milk ricotta, drained
6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Kosher salt
One 35-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, if possible San
Marzano, crushed using your hands


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Bring a big pot of salted water to
    its boiling point for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a big frying pan
    on moderate heat. Spread the garlic over the oil, and cook, shaking
    the pan, until a golden-brown colour is achieved, approximately two
    minutes. Pour the tomatoes into the frying pan, slosh out the can
    with 1 cup water, and put in that. Put in the crushed red pepper, and
    sprinkle lightly with salt. Bring the sauce to a quick boil, then
    regulate the heat to simmering. Cook until the sauce is a little
    thickened, approximately half an hour. Mix the basil into the sauce a
    few minutes before it is done.
  2. Mix the shells into the salted boiling water, and cook, stirring once
    in a while, until a little firmer than firm to the bite, approximately
    seven minutes. Fish the shells out of the water using a spider, and
    plunge into a big bowl of ice water. Allow to cool, then drain.
  3. Thinly slice half the mozzarella, and chop the rest of the half into ¼-
    inch cubes. Turn the drained ricotta into a mixing bowl, and mix in
    the mozzarella cubes, grated cheese, and parsley. Sprinkle salt and
    pepper to taste. Beat the egg well, and stir it into the ricotta mixture.
  1. Take the garlic and line the bottom of a 10-by-fifteen-inch baking
    dish with approximately ¾ cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon about 2
    tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into each shell—the shell must be
    filled to capacity, but not overstuffed. Nestle the shells next to each
    other in the baking dish as you fill them, spooning the rest of the
    sauce over the shells, coating each one. Position the slices of
    mozzarella in a uniform layer over the shells. Bake until the
    mozzarella is browned and bubbling, approximately twenty-five
    minutes. Take out of the oven, and allow it to stand five minutes
    before you serve.