Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce

If it weren’t for cheese, there’s no doubt in my mind that this food blog would be called SkinnyGirl instead of RecipeGirl.  Pasta is welcome in my life any old time, but cheese is something that I seriously couldn’t live without.  There is nothing like the tang of a fantastic hunk of aged sharp cheddar, the flavor of a soft, fresh goat cheese, or the creaminess of a wedge of French brie.  I love them all.  That’s okay though.  I enjoy cheese much more than I’d enjoy being a SkinnyGirl.  I suppose I could learn to live in moderation of this delicious evil, (and I do most of the time) but that’s not always terribly easy to do.  My family is into cheese too, and they’re really into pasta, so recently I whipped up a new dinner for us:  Cheese- Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce

The shells are stuffed with a mixture of ricotta, shredded cheese (I used white sharp cheddar) and feta cheese.

They’re topped with a simple homemade cream sauce (Bechamel base minus the nutmeg… with the addition of feta cheese).  A sprinkle of fresh basil and chives goes on top, and then into the oven for 30 minutes.   Note:  You could certainly use marinara sauce instead of cream sauce, if you’d like.

It’s a great dinner- both husband and kid- friendly.  The melty cheese- stuffed pasta shells are delicious dunked in that creamy, cheesy sauce.  We ate them with a big green salad to help balance things out.  And just for the record… since I have a zillion people ask me… I’m not related to, I don’t know, nor have I ever met SkinnyGirl or HungryGirl.  For some reason, people think we’re like sisters or buddies or business partners or something.  Nope!  I’m pretty sure that neither of them would eat these Cheese- Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce either.  And I would imagine it’s not likely they eat much cheese!  Of course they’re famous and I’m not, but… who’s happier and gets to eat cheese too, really?!   Just sayin…

Yield: 24 Stuffed Shells (serves 6 to 8)

Prep Time: 35 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce

Ingredients:

SHELLS:
24 large pasta shells, prepared according to instructions, then rinsed and cooled

FILLING:
30 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces feta or goat cheese crumbles, chopped finely
3/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, sharp white cheddar, gouda, fontina)
1/3 cup chopped basil
2 large eggs
salt and pepper

SAUCE:
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons Gold Medal® All-Purpose Flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups low fat milk
2 teaspoons salt
4 ounces feta or goat cheese, chopped finely

TOP:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Prepare the Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly until very smooth. Bring to a boil- stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the salt and cheese. Set aside until ready to use.

3. Assemble the shells: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Pour about 1 1/2 cups sauce into the bottom of the pan. Fill the shells with the cheese mixture and set them in the pan (6 rows x 4 rows). Drizzle the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle basil and chives (if using) on top, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Bake 30 minutes, or until the shells are hot and bubbling and heated through. Leftovers keep well (and my husband says they're even better the next day!)

Tips:

*I always make a few extra shells since some of them inevitably tend to break apart while boiling.
*Substitute marinara sauce for the white sauce, if you'd like

Source: RecipeGirl.com

Visit these other delicious stuffed shells recipes on the blogs: 
Kale and Ricotta Stuffed Shells by A Food Centric Life
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells by SugarCrafter
Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells by Eat Live Run 
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells by What’s Cookin, Chicago? 
Taco Stuffed Shells by Buns in My Oven 

27 Responses to “Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce”

  1. postedDec 10, 2012 3:22 AM

    Oh my goodness. This looks incredible! And Skinny Girl? That wouldn’t be any fun now, would it? And what would life be like without cheese? A very sad one, I can tell you. I have some ricotta in the fridge now. If only I weren’t trying to eat gluten-free for a few more weeks. But when it’s over, and it had no effect on me, I am going to make these and DESTROY them. 😀

  2. postedDec 10, 2012 5:57 AM

    I have some of those jumbo shells at home and I’ve been trying to work out what to make with them. This looks like perfect cheesy comfort food goodness!

  3. postedDec 10, 2012 6:11 AM

    Such a hearty + delicious looking meal!

  4. postedDec 10, 2012 6:14 AM
  5. postedDec 10, 2012 6:44 AM

    Oh, yes. I could eat that whole pan full of stuffed shells!

    Thanks for linking me up! :)

  6. postedDec 10, 2012 6:52 AM

    I definitely can’t live without cheese either! These shells are awesome – love that they’re filling with a combo of 3 types of cheeses – that’s just my style! :)

  7. postedDec 10, 2012 8:24 AM

    My family would devour this! Pinning!

  8. postedDec 10, 2012 10:36 AM

    Oh I would eat this whole pan. Dangerous! Love that you threw feta into the mix.

  9. postedDec 10, 2012 1:44 PM

    Yum!! I remember my mother making stuffed shells all the time growing up. Now, I never make them. Hmm – I need to make this a priority! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. postedDec 10, 2012 5:16 PM
    Lisa Cornely

    Cheese is probably the only food I could not give up. I could live without meat but not cheese. These shells look and sound delicious. I too love that you mixed it up a bit with the cheeses. Thanks for the inspiration on this one.

  11. postedDec 10, 2012 6:29 PM

    I feel similarly about peanut butter but cheese definitely makes the shortlist. This is creamy dreamy on so many levels!

  12. postedDec 10, 2012 6:50 PM

    I’m about to DAH for some of this right now. No seriously.

  13. postedDec 11, 2012 5:22 AM

    amazing! love the stuffed shells in white wine instead of marinara!

  14. postedDec 11, 2012 5:28 AM

    I have never made shells, and I should! Your flavors combination is wonderful!! Bookmarking!!

  15. postedDec 11, 2012 6:24 AM
    VirginiaMontgomery

    I am all over this. for dinner. tonight! Yum. I’m gonna try it with a light marinara sauce. Thanks for this easy kid friendly dinner idea!

  16. postedDec 11, 2012 6:28 AM
    VirginiaMontgomery

    Can I also say, your site has become my new go-to site for any and all recipes. I just checked out all your cookie recipes to add new ones to my Christmas baking. They are all nice and organized and easy to browse. Thank You!

  17. postedDec 11, 2012 6:53 AM

    These shells look delicious! I’ve never seen them made with a white sauce before…only marinara. I love cheese sauce, so I think I’d like this way better. I’m also a fellow cheese lover. My mom used to discribe my dad and I as her resident mice since we ate so much cheese.

  18. postedDec 11, 2012 7:46 AM

    Lori, it’s been years since I made shells and it used a red sauce. But this deliciousness with the bechamel and CHEESE has prompted me to revisit the dish with this recipe. Thank you for sharing and the inspiration!

  19. postedDec 11, 2012 8:52 AM

    Loving the idea of goat cheese in stuffed shells

  20. postedDec 11, 2012 10:08 AM
    Linda | The Urban Mrs

    OMG – this looks so mouthwatering. Something that I definitely have to try! Yes, I’m in love with cheese, too.

  21. postedDec 11, 2012 2:56 PM

    Yes, cheese! Cheese feels gooood! Love the recipe, and love cheese! :)

  22. postedDec 11, 2012 8:29 PM

    These look positively decadent and gooey. My kind of meal.

  23. postedDec 12, 2012 8:06 PM

    These are the prettiest shells in all the land, Lori!

  24. postedDec 13, 2012 7:46 AM

    Yum! This would be high on my list of delicious comfort foods!

  25. postedDec 13, 2012 10:12 AM

    Lol! I would never give up cheese either–especially as a Wisconsin girl! So worth the indulgence. I bet this sauce would be great with Laughing Cow wedges too! :)

  26. postedDec 19, 2012 3:21 PM

    I could care less about eating meat but I would never, ever give up cheese. It’s so good! This cheesy pasta dish looks delicious, Lori.

  27. postedDec 20, 2012 6:42 AM

    you had me at “3 Cheese”… :)

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