DH and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on Friday, when we knew we’d have more time to enjoy a good meal, and each other.

Our menu was simple, but hearty: Stuffed Shells with Garlic Toast, and Angie’s Famous Strawberry Cupcakes for dessert. Everything was delicious!
This stuffed shell recipe is very “classic” Italian — it will taste just like those amazing stuffed shells you buy at the Italian restaurant — and they’re quick to make as well! The recipe I use is base recipe — you can add mushrooms, or spinach, or meat, or anything you please to the cheese mixture to stuff the shells.
Stuffed Shells
1 (12 oz) package jumbo pasta shells
2 eggs, beaten
1 (32 oz) container of ricotta cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
8 oz. greated parmesean cheese, divided
1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (28 oz) jars of pasta sauce (or your own homemade recipe)
1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken — your preference)
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Get a 9×13 casserole dish to place your shells in for baking.
– Boil a large pot of lightly salted water. Add the pasta shells and cook them for 8-10 minutes; or until they are al dente. Drain the pasta, and rinse with cool water (so you can handle them to stuff).
– Brown the meat in a large skillet with sides (this way, you can add the sauce to this pan later to mix with the meat). Drain off any excess fat and return browned meat to the skillet. Remove from heat.
– In a large bowl, mix the two eggs, 32 oz. of ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until blended well.
– Add the pasta sauce, the rest of the mozzarella and the rest of the parmsean to your browned meat. Stir to incorporate.
– Stuff the pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place them in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. I like to stuff my shells to the brim — don’t hold back!
– Once all shells are stuffed, gently spoon the pasta sauce/meat/cheese mixture over the tops of the shells, coating liberally. You may not use all the sauce, that’s ok!
– Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

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