I had a lot of cheese I needed to use and a recipe I had bookmarked a while ago so I thought I would put the two together and this is what I ended up with.
I used a combo of swiss, cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese.
Always heavily salt the water when you are making pasta. If you don't salt the water your pasta will be horribly bland and it is impossible to correct that after it has cooked.
You can use your favorite spaghetti sauce with or without meat. I used a vodka tomato sauce and added grated parmesan cheese.
First I boiled jumbo shells. You want to under cook them a bit because they will continue to cook in the oven later. I cooked them for about 9 minutes.
Drain them and rinse with cold water.
Next, boil the small shells. Under cook these as well. I cooked them for 9 minutes too.
Drain them in a colander.
Pour 2 cups of whole milk into a heavy pot.
Add 2 cups of shredded cheddar and 2 cups of shredded swiss.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir over low heat until the cheese begins to melt.
Spread about a cup and a half of your sauce in the bottom of a rectangular dish or a gratin pan. I doubled this recipe and made 2 large pans and one small pan. This took 2 boxes of the large shells and one box of the small shells. Just cut this in half to make 1 recipe.
When the cheese has almost melted, stir in a block of cream cheese and stir until it melts.
You should have a creamy cheese sauce at this point.
Add the small shells to the cheese sauce.
Stir to thoroughly coat the small shells.
Take the jumbo shells and stuff them with the small shell cheese mixture and arrange them on the tomato sauce coated pan. Press them in open side facing up and push them close together.
Cover them with the remaining sauce. Bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Then open the oven and cover them with sliced mozzarella cheese and some shredded parmesan. Continue to bake for 15 more minutes.
While they are baking I cooked some bacon and then crumbled it and sprinkled it over the top of each dish.
I also shredded the last basil from my garden and sprinkled it on too.
Let it sit for about 15 minutes to settle before serving.
This is like a mac and cheese spaghetti. I think kids would love this. I know mine do!
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