February 9, 2013

Stuffed Shells with Cream Sauce

Oooooh goodness are these stuffed shells good.  They make me wish I'd been making stuffed shells forever. I never had them much growing up, so just don't think of them as a dinner option.  But when I saw this pin, they had to be mine.  I decided not to be intimidated by something with "Bechamel" in the title, and was encouraged when the actual recipe just called it "creamy white sauce".  :)
Now, the advice here is that all the time it takes to make the sauce is totally worth it.  So be patient!


  • 24 large pasta shells, prepared according to instructions, then rinsed and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt

  • 30 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled finely
  • 3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled finely
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Shells. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil and shells.  Make a few more than 24 so there are no tears over torn shells.  Cook according to package instructions.  Drain, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking and make them easy to handle, and arrange on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.  Set aside.
  2. Filling. In a large bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients until well incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Sauce.  In a medium pot, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted.  Whisk in the flour until smooth.  Increase the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is golden and bubbly, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pot over medium heat, just to the point of boiling.  Stir the milk regularly and scrape the bottom of the pot so the milk doesn't burn.  Add the hot milk to the golden bubbly butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly, until all added and the sauce is smooth.  Bring to a boil and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, until thickened and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in the salt and cheese.  Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Fill the Shells.  Preheat the oven to 350°.  Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with Pam.  Pour about 1 1/2 cups sauce into the bottom of the pan and tilt to coat evenly.  Fill the shells with the cheese mixture (about 1/4 cup each) and set them in the pan (I had 3 rows of 8 shells, plus a few extra nudged in).  Pour the remaining sauce evenly on top.  Sprinkle with Topping ingredients.
  5. Bake 30 minutes, or until the shells are hot all the way through and sauce is bubbling.
  6. Leftovers keep really well and taste excellent the next day!

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