Stuffed Shells are a favorite of ours as well as a favorite of others. The trick to them is getting the ricotta right and getting enough into the shell without it falling apart.
We use the largest shell we can find as those hold the ricotta best.
Cooking the shells to the right firmness is something you have to work at, but if you follow the instructions on the pasta box you should be able to make them soft enough to open yet firm enough so the shell does not fall apart.
When planning the shells meal, you might want to have another side or entree to accompany it.
We recommend Louise's Meatballs as they are easy to prepare and have a great flavor.
Also, don't forget the Italian Bread, some garlic and butter to make Garlic Bread.
We also encourage you to have either grated Parmesan or Pecorino/Parmesan shaved cheese as this addition will bring out all the flavors of the meal.
In a six quart pan boil water and cook shells to detente.
Drain into a colander and let set.
In a medium size bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and parsley mixing well.
In a 9 x 13 baking dish, cover bottom with tomato sauce (see tomato sauce Louise's way).
Take each shell from colander and with a large spoon fill the shell with the ricotta mixture and place onto the baking dish.
Once a single layer has been completed add tomato sauce to the filled shells in the baking dish.
Continue this process until all shells have been filled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place dish in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Top casserole with mozzarella cheese and continue to bake for and additional 10 - 20 minutes watching for the sauce to bubble.
Remove and let stand.
These are excellent for a buffet and can be made days ahead and frozen. Remove from freezer, thaw and bake until warm throughout.
Italian food takes on a whole new look when set in the environment you want.
Click on the link below and search for "presentation." Our reference library will show you some great books on food presentation.