Stuffed Shells with Pancetta Marinara
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 4 oz diced pancetta
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp chopped Calabrian chilis or to taste
- 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes crushed well by hand (or pulsed in a food processor or blender)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese plus more for topping
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 8 oz shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese more if you want a super cheesy top!
- ½ (12 oz) box jumbo shells about 25 shells
- Begin by preparing the sauce. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Add in pancetta and cook until rendered and crispy.
- Add in garlic and cook until golden. Stir in tomato paste. Cook until tomato paste browns, about 3 minutes.
- Add in chilis, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer on low, for at least 45 minutes, until the flavors have infused, the tomatoes have broken down, and the sauce has thickened a bit.
- While the sauce simmers, prepare the shells and filling.
- Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- In a small bowl, mix ricotta, basil, parsley, pecorino, and lemon zest until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once water is boiling, heavily salt the water and drop in the shells. Boil for 8 minutes (pasta will not be fully cooked).
- Drain pasta and run under cold water to cool off. Drizzle with a touch of oil, so that the shells don’t stick together. Set aside until ready to assemble the shells.
- Grease a small baking dish with a bit of olive oil.
- Add a layer of marinara sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Fill each shell with ricotta mixture. Place shells in the prepared baking dish as you fill.
- Top with an even layer of marinara sauce. **
- Top with mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of pecorino romano. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Uncover and broil until the cheese is golden. Garnish with fresh torn basil, if desired.
**Add as much sauce as you’d like, you just want to cover the shells. Some people like it more saucy, some like it less 🙂
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!