Pasta Shells Filled w/Feta & Herbs

prepared by and photo by Emily Doscher

A timeless dish with an updated stuffing.  Fresh herbs and feta intensify the creamy ricotta cheese filling.  A side salad, a chunk of Italian bread and glass of red vino completes the plate.  So kick up your feet, “loosen your tie,” and take a breather.

Size: 6 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
2 (28 oz) cans Italian plum tomatoes, chopped in processor w/juices
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (15 oz) containers ricotta cheese
14 oz feta cheese, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 fresh chive bunches, chopped
2 eggs
1 (12 oz) package jumbo pasta shells
Fresh basil sprigs


SAUCE:  Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.  Add crushed red pepper and saute 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes.  Simmer until sauce is reduced to 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and mix in basil.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover and chill.)

FILLING:  Combine ricotta, 1 1/3 cups feta, 1/2 cup chopped basil and chives.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Mix in eggs.

Cook shells in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water until cool.  Drain thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread 3/4 cup sauce over bottom of one 13x9x2″ glass baking dish and 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of one 8×8″ glass baking dish.  Fill around 30 shells and divide between dishes.  Top with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining feta.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.)  Bake shells until heated through, about 30 minutes.  Garnish with basil sprigs.

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Author: Emily Sarah Downs

Cuisine Coordinator, Tips From Town, Ridgewood, NJ


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