The secret to getting this Sunday night dinner worthy meal on the table any day of the week is that you don’t boil the pasta! Save yourself the time and hassle of boiling the noodles and just fill them uncooked. Nestle them in classic tomato sauce, top with shredded cheese and bake to al dente perfection in the oven!
So wait, I don’t boil the noodles?
Exactly! The moisture from the red sauce and a little splash of water are going to cook the jumbo shell noodles to al dente perfection right in the baking dish! This means you don’t need to fill a pot with water, wait for the water to boil, cook the noodles or strain the noodles.
It also means that you won’t have to try to hang on to slippery noodles and somehow magically fill them with the cheesy spinach filling. Uncooked noodles are obviously much easier to hold and fill – so you’re welcome!
How do I make stuffed shells without boiling the noodles?
I’ts easy! You just fill uncooked jumbo shells with a cheesy ricotta and spinach filling and then nestle them into your jazzed up store bought sauce (more details on the jazzing below).
Then you’ll cover the baking dish with tin foil to ensure that the stuffed shells get perfectly tender while they bake in the oven.
What kind of sauce should I use?
This recipe is all about the cheese! Jazz up your favorite store bought spaghetti sauce by adding your leftover Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese rinds and some fresh chopped herbs. As the sauce simmers, the cheese rinds will soften and impart the most delicious, deep, rich flavor into the sauce.
This is a great way to make a store bought pasta sauce taste like it’s homemade – and like it’s been cooking all day!
What kind of cheese should I use?
The most perfect melty and flavorful cheese that I’ve found is Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Not surprisingly it’s the most awarded cheese in American history – and after you’ve had your first bite, you’ll see why.
It’s only made from May through October, during which time the cows are eating fresh pasture which produces the most amazing flavored cheese ever!
Where can I find Pleasant Ridge Reserve?
Luckily, Uplands Cheese products are available all across the country! Check out their store locator for retail locations near you. If you’d like their cheeses delivered right to your home, they ship anywhere in the U.S. too!
And if you’re in need of a unique holiday gift for that special cheese lover in your life, make sure you check out their gift boxes also!
Can I make these stuffed shells ahead of time?
Yes! Follow the recipe directions and before baking, cover the dish with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for up to a week! Whenever you’re ready to bake the stuffed shells, let them sit out on your counter for about an hour so they come to room temp. Then bake according to recipe directions and enjoy!
Looking for other great cheeses to try?
I’d be remiss to not share with you the cheese that first led me to Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve. It’s another cheese that they make for a limited time each year – Rush Creek Reserve. It’s like brie, only creamier and tangier and more delicious than anything I’ve had in my life; and it’s wrapped in spruce bark!
If there is one thing you splurge on this holiday season, let it be this cheese! It’s the ultimate addition to any cheeseboard and truth be told I’ve enjoyed it for dinner with a crusty loaf of bread and a glass of red wine more times than I’d care to admit!
The secret to getting this Sunday night dinner worthy meal on the table any day of the week is that you don’t boil the jumbo shells!
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 45 oz. your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, divided
- 3 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
- 15 oz. whole milk ricotta
- 12 oz. Pleasant Ridge Reserve, shredded (save your rinds!)
- 1 egg
- 30 jumbo shells, uncooked
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion along with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.
- Stir in oregano, sage, spaghetti sauce, cheese rinds, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and another couple pinches of salt and pepper.
- Cover and simmer sauce over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce is cooking, in a large bowl combine spinach, ricotta, about 2/3 of the shredded cheese, egg and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Fill uncooked jumbo shells with a couple tablespoons of filling each.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the sauce has simmered, carefully remove cheese rinds. Then pour 3/4 of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
- Nestle stuffed jumbo shells into the sauce in a single layer. Top with remaining sauce and cheese and cover with tin foil.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until noodles are al dente. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes until the cheese gets golden brown. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!
Keywords: family, dinner, weeknight, meal, simple, easy, quick, pasta, noodles, recipe, vegetarian