Stuffed shells are a family favorite, so when Mimi Jr. said she wanted to learn to make them we spent a fun afternoon in the kitchen making all the different components. They are a little time consuming, but you do it in several steps which can all be done ahead of time so all you have to do is bake the assembled dish. Along with the ricotta filling that you most often see, we also did a veal and Italian sausage filling. The filled shells are covered by both a bechamel and a marinara sauce and it is all topped with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan. With a nice salad and glass of wine we had the perfect little Italian restaurant right at home!
There are lots of shortcuts to make this a quick and easy dinner. When the children were small, and I cooked by myself, I would just make the cheeses filling covered with balsamella and cheese. The recipes can easily be halved or doubled to make the amount that suits your family. I like to double the marinara sauce and freeze half for another time, but you could also use your favorite jarred sauce.