Recipe Review

I Tried Food & Wine’s Stuffed Shells and Dare I Say It’s the Perfect Recipe

published Aug 18, 2022
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A stuffed shell recipe from Food & Wine in a white pan on a marble surface.
Credit: Photo: Dane Tashima; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

In my stuffed shell recipe quest, I knew there had to be a meaty one in the mix. That was the tradition I grew up with, so that’s what instantly comes to mind when I think of the dish. During my search I ran across a Food & Wine recipe by Culinary Director-at-Large, Justin Chapple. I was intrigued when I saw that the shells were stuffed with pork and ricotta and was even more interested when I read the recipe and realized it wouldn’t make a ton of dirty dishes.

And then there were the comments. “We thought this was amazeballs!” said Nancy Carlson. “This was by far the best stuffed shells I have ever eaten,” added pattiem. “Everyone loves it,” said Karen Catalina. Would I love it as much as these folks? I couldn’t wait to get to the kitchen and give it a try.

Get the recipe: Pork-and-Ricotta-Stuffed Jumbo Shells at Food & Wine

Credit: Photo: Dane Tashima; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

How to Make Food & Wine’s Stuffed Shells 

The recipe starts by boiling the shells. While they cook, you prepare the pork filling by mixing ground pork, ricotta, panko, garlic, egg, Parmigiano, parsley, some heavy cream, salt, and black pepper. In a separate bowl, you mix your choice of tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade) with more heavy cream. 

To assemble the dish, pour half of the tomato-cream sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of the pork filling, and nestle them into the sauce. Once all the shells are stuffed, spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and scatter torn fresh mozzarella over the top. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes before garnishing with chopped parsley right before serving. 

My Honest Review of Food & Wine’s Stuffed Shells

Meatballs are one of my favorite foods, so when I saw that this recipe starts by making a ricotta meatball for the filling and mixing store-bought marinara with heavy cream, I was immediately intrigued. The meaty juices melded beautifully with the tomato-cream sauce as the pork cooked inside the shells. There was the perfect amount of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan to accompany the other components. The recipe was perfect overall, and I simply couldn’t get enough of the fatty richness and the flavors from the sharp, creamy, and milky trio of cheeses.

If I Make Food & Wine’s Stuffed Shells Again

Honestly, there’s no question if I’ll make these again because I’ve already made them twice since I initially reviewed this recipe. It’s simply a question of if my partner will ever get tired of this being on our frequent dinner rotation — because I won’t.

Overall rating: 10/10