Make-Ahead Stuffed Shells

From Cook’s Country

I finally tried this one, and it was awesome! Sometimes I don’t like stuffed shells because there’s too much cheese but these were the perfect size. Assembled shells may be frozen for up to 2 months. You need two 8-inch square bakingdishes for this recipe. If you want to pull the baking dishes from the freezer individually, divide the tomato sauce and cheese into smaller containers.

1 (12 ounce) box jumbo pasta shells

3 c ricotta cheese

1 c grated Parmesan cheese

3 c shredded mozzarella cheese

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 c finely-chopped fresh basil

2 large eggs plus 2 yolks, lightly beaten

2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes made into marinara sauce

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tbsp salt and shells and cook until tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain and cool shells. Reserve 30 shells, discarding any that have broken.

2. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, 1 1/2 c mozzarella, garlic, basil, eggs, and 1/2 tsp salt in bowl. Fill each shell with 2 tbsp filling.

3. To assemble: Divide 2 c cooled marinara between 2 8-inch square baking dishes. Arrange half of filled shells, seam-side up, in each dish, then top each dish with 1 1/2 c marinara. Wrap dishes with plastic and cover with foil. Transfer remaining sauce to airtight container and remaining mozzarella to zipper-lock freezer bags. Freeze shells, sauce, and cheese.

4. When ready to serve: Defrost shells, sauce, and cheese for 8 hours in fridge. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic from shells and replace foil. Bake until sauce is bubbling and shells are heated through about 50 minutes. Remove foil and top shells with reserved sauce and cheese. Bake until cheese is spotty brown, about 10 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Serve.

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