Birthday Dinner Featuring Stuffed Shells

Today we celebrated a late birthday for Liz at Sarah’s house since Sarah is not too mobile yet with a 5 day old baby, an almost three year-old and a slowly healing body after her emergency c-section.  I asked Liz what she wanted for her birthday supper.  She immediately responded, “Stuffed shells and banana cream pie.”  Stuffed shells are perhaps my most requested dish for birthdays and holidays.  Here is what I did.

First, I made a marinara sauce with sautéed onions and garlic, spices, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, honey, and red wine. Delicious.

Then I made our filling: Into a big bowl I poured out a 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese, added lots of grated mozzarella cheese, a generous amount of Parmesan cheese, and enough chopped parsley to make it colorful.

At this point, a big pan of water on the stove was coming to a boil. I added two boxes of pasta shells, waited 9 minutes, then drained them.

Rachael helped me stuff the pasta shells, place them in a big baking dish over a bit of the marinara sauce, and repeat the process until all the shells and the filling were gone. Then I covered all the shells with marinara sauce, followed by both mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then popped it into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Everyone seemed pleased with the results.  We ate a pan and a half of the stuffed shells.

This is a recipe that can be counted on for all occasions.  I highly recommend it.

I made that requested banana cream pie, too, but that will have to wait for another post.

Happy belated birthday, Liz.  I think we can safely say we celebrated well tonight.

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