Ricotta & Fontina Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium head of radicchio, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces jumbo shells
- 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3 cups homemade or jarred marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Add the fennel and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes; add water as needed to keep the vegetables from scorching. Add the radicchio and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes, adding water as needed. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and cool on a lightly oiled plate.
Fold the ricotta, 1 cup of the Fontina and the parsley into the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs.
In another bowl, mix the marinara sauce with the heavy cream. Pour 1 1/2 cups into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Stuff each shell with a slightly rounded tablespoon of the filling and nestle the shells in the sauce as close together as possible. Drizzle 1 cup of the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Fontina and 1/3 cup Parmesan.
Bake the shells for about 40 minutes, until golden. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.