I was super excited to find this recipe on Bon Appetit from the Palizzi Social Club in Philadelphia. It was so good I went ahead and bought the cookbook entitled “Dinner At the Club.” These pasta shells are delicious and I paired them with some Italian sausage to make the dish a little more substantial. I added burrata cheese which is so rich and delicious and cut down a little on the ricotta.
If you are interested in finding out more about the history and culture of Italian food in Philadelphia, I highly recommend the PBS special that just aired called “No Passport Required” in which chef Marcus Samuelsson goes to many Italian restaurants in Philadelphia and gives an inside look at this members-only club. Oh if only… maybe someday my husband and I will try to get a table… but for now I have the handy cookbook with so many delicious recipes! I was able to get the cookbook on Amazon if you are interested.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves pressed or smashed and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cane sugar I like to use two la Perruche sugar cubes
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves + 1/4 cup more to stir into the sauce once it has finished cooking
- 2 28 ounce cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 rind of parmesan cheese optional
- Add the extra-virgin olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the onions and sauté the onions over medium heat until lightly golden. Add the garlic, garlic powder, sugar, sea salt, and fresh basil leaves and sauté about 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and parmesan cheese rind (optional).
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Stir the sauce a few times while it cooks. Break up the tomatoes with a potato masher. At end of cooking, pull out the basil and parmesan cheese rind. Add the remaining fresh basil. Set the sauce aside.
Pasta Shells + Putting it all together
- 10 ounces bulk mild Italian sausage or sausage links with the casings removed
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- Kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks + 1 large egg
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups burrata cheese + 1/2 cup for topping the pasta
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley finely chopped + more for serving
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups marinara sauce see recipe above
- Top the finished pasta shells with dried oregano + extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Sauté the Italian sausage in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet over medium heat until golden and temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Drain off the fat and set it aside on a plate covered with paper towels.
- Cook the pasta shells in salted water until they are softened but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and run cold water over them and drain again to stop them from cooking. Set the shells aside.
- Add the egg yolks, and egg, ricotta cheese, burrata cheese, parmesan cheese, Italian parsley, and Italian sausage to a large-sized bowl and mix well to combine.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce to coat the bottom of a 13 x 9” casserole dish. Add the cheese mixture to a large zip-lock bag and cut off a small section of a corner of the bag. Place the pasta shells in the casserole dish and squeeze the cheese-sausage mixture to fill each of the shells. Top the shells with the remaining 1 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and top with chunks of the remaining 1/2 cup of burrata cheese. Cover the dish with tin foil and place in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove the tin foil and broil until lightly golden on top.
- Serve the pasta shells topped with some dried oregano, fresh parsley and drizzled with some extra-virgin olive oil.
Source: Adapted from Stuffed Shells with Marinara. BonAppetit. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/stuffed-shells-with-marinara