Prep 1 hr
Cook 35 mins
- 1 (12 ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese (whole-milk or part-skim)
- 1 1⁄2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 garlic clove (minced to a paste or pressed through a garlic press)
- ground black pepper
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 cup vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄4 cup minced fresh basil leaf
- 1⁄2 ounce parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; preheat to 400°.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the shells; cook, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente.
- Drain the shells and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
- Using a dinner fork, pry apart any shells that have clung together, discarding any that are badly torn (you should have 30-33 good shells).
- Filling-mix the ricotta, mozzarella, peas, mint, egg, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl.
- Spoon a tablespoon of the filling into each shell and arrange them, seam-side down, into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
- Cover the filled shells loosely with damp paper towels and set aside.
- Sauce-puree the canned tomatoes with their juice in a food processor fitted with the steel blade until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Heat the oil and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add the pureed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, vodka, cream, and sugar; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the flavors have melded and the sauce has thickened, 10-12 minutes.
- Off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Discard the paper towels covering the filled shells and pour the tomato sauce over the top.
- Tilt the dish to distribute the sauce evenly and make sure each shell is covered with sauce (spoon over each shell if necessary).
- Cover with foil and bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the ricotta filling is hot, about 30 minutes.
- Cool for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with basil and Parmesan before serving.