We may be geeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to create great things in the kitchen. Some of the best dishes can be made quickly and easily as long as you know what you’re doing. Let’s get cooking!

I do a lot of Italian-style foods because, in general, they’re really easy to cook and they end up being delicious to eat, like these stuffed shells. There’s very little difficulty in getting these made, but they end up great. It’s the first step that’s the most complicated, and if you can get by that, you’re going to have a great meal.

Stuffed Shells 1First things first, preheat the oven at around 350 degrees. While cooking the jumbo shells in a pot of water on the stove, take a bowl and put in some ricotta cheese. Crack an egg and stir it into the ricotta to help the cheese get its maximum creaminess. Once you have a good texture, it’s time to season things. For me, that means black pepper, crushed red peppers, some oregano, and a little bit of grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheeses.

The stuffing for the stuffed shells is, of course, the most important part of the meal, so you should make sure the cheese mixture is fit to taste just the way you like it. If the ricotta mixture is off, then the taste of the whole meal could go right down the tubes, and no one wants that to happen.

When the ricotta mixture is done, focus on the shells boiling in the water on the stove. Once they become slightly al dente (not too hard but not too soft), turn the stove off and drain the water from the pot. It’s time to start filling the shells with the ricotta filling. Put a spoonful or so into each shell and place the shell in a baking pan lined with a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, to make sure nothing sticks.

Stuffed Shells 3

Once all the shells have been properly stuffed and placed in the baking pan with an even distribution, take some sauce and put a layer of it over the shells. Put as much or as little of it as you like. I, personally, like a lot of sauce, so these things get drenched when I reach this stage. But I understand that’s not everyone’s taste. Get creative with the type of sauce, too, and see what sauce fits your taste the most. Usually, I like a vodka sauce with my pasta dishes, but this time I used a three cheese marinara sauce.

Over top the sauce, the final layer is of shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese. After you put the cheese on top, put the shells in the oven and let the shells cook for about 20 minutes. Take them out when they look cooked and you should get something like this:

Stuffed Shells 4