Stuffed Shells With Vodka-Tomato Cream Sauce

READY IN: 1hr 35mins




  • 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.