Inspired by Joe’s Italian Restaurant in Alabaster, Alabama
This recipe is one that I adapted from a locally owned restaurant close to where we live called Joe’s Italian. It’s an insanely popular place to eat and stays packed out. They have a small menu, but they use superior ingredients and everything there is amazing.
This was a special they had a few weeks ago and I was finally able to convince my daughter to eat something besides cheese pizza – and she loved it. So I told her I would make a version for her at home.
1 package large pasta shells
16 oz container Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes*
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (or you could use heavy cream)
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the shells according to package directions, drain and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan; refrigerate until ready to stuff the shells. Bring about 2 tbsp olive oil to medium-high heat in a large saute pan, add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring; then add the tomatoes through salt. Bring to a slow boil, reduce heat to medium and cover, stirring every couple of minutes. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the cream cheese. Simmer, covered, until the cream cheese is fully incorporated into the sauce. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper if you need to and remove from heat.
Begin by stuffing the shells with the cheese mixture, arranging in a single layer in a 9×11 baking dish. Pour the sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the Mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.
Your belly called. It said for you to make this.
*I decided next time I’m going to add more tomatoes because I could have used more sauce, but if you don’t like things too “saucy” then this would be just right. If you decide to add more, remember to increase the cream cheese.
Sandie (Sandie's Bitchin' Kitchen)April 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM
These look amazing!! I recently did a similar kind of thing with a baked ziti recipe… I just kind of grabbed a bunch of random stuff and threw it together! It turned out to be rather good!!
Dixie ChikApril 13, 2011 at 2:17 PM
Aren’t those thrown together dishes just the best, though?
RachApril 5, 2011 at 4:54 PM
Those look yummy!
LizApril 3, 2011 at 5:29 PM
Mmmmm…we love stuffed shells, and I love the idea of serving with a rose sauce. Nice!!!
Kate @ DiethoodApril 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM
I’m a fan of anything that’s ‘stuffed’!! My belly is calling for these! I love it… looks so good! And that sauce… wow!
carolinaheartstringsApril 1, 2011 at 2:05 PM
This looks so wonderful. I cannot wait to try it.
A little bit of everythingMarch 31, 2011 at 9:13 PM
You got me at the rose sauce. never new how to make it, ate once and kinda liked it although I’m a tomato sauce lover.
Your pasta looks great and so is your blog.
Hope you’re having a wonderful evening 🙂
Happy When Not HungryMarch 31, 2011 at 7:34 PM
I love stuffed shells! These look amazing and so tasty!
elle @ nutritionellaMarch 31, 2011 at 2:40 PM
Yum! This looks soooo much better than what I’m eating right now (Wendy’s). I’ve never made stuffed shells but you’ve inspired me to try!
Dixie ChikMarch 31, 2011 at 2:45 PM
You should – you will love them! Thanks Elle.
KitaMarch 31, 2011 at 2:33 PM
I just saw a jar of ‘Rose Sauce’ at the market today and was wondering what it was. Ive never heard of it before. I’m assuming based on your ingredients, its like a blush sauce but with cream cheese in stead of a heavy cream to give it a lighter color and creamy texture?
These stuffed shells sound great. I love a hearty pasta dish.
Dixie ChikMarch 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM
Thanks Kita! Yes, it’s just what I chose to use because I didn’t have any heavy cream 🙂