Stuffed Pasta Shells

 

Forget what you know about baked shells: The creamy texture of homemade ricotta makes all the difference. The multiple elements, including a take on Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce, can be made ahead.

What you will need

1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes

4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 medium onion, peeled and halved

Pinch granulated sugar

Kosher salt

2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter

1 3/8 oz. (5 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour

5 cups whole milk

1 small bay leaf

1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Kosher salt

Kosher salt

Olive oil as needed

2 large eggs

4 cups homemade ricotta (drained for 30 minutes to 2 hours) or good quality purchased

8 oz. (2 cups) coarsely grated fresh mozzarella; more for topping (optional)

4 oz. prosciutto cotto, cut into 1/4-inch dice (3/4 cup)

1-1/4 oz. (1-1/4 cups) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

3/4 oz. (3/4 cup) finely grated pecorino romano

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. dried jumbo pasta shells

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