Friday, March 22, 2013

Recipe Week: Stuffed Pasta Shells

This is definitely one of my all time favorite dinners.  It just has such a fresh taste.  That's a nice change of pace once in awhile in the middle of winter.  Filling the shells takes a little hands-on time, but it is well worth it.  We devour them!

12 oz. dried jumbo pasta shells (about 35)
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 (28) oz cans whole tomatoes
1 (15) oz carton whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/3 cups grated or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook pasta shells as directed on box.  Meanwhile in a large skillet heat 1 T olive oil.  Add beef and 1 garlic clove.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until no pink remains and transfer to bowl, set aside.  For tomatoe sauce, in a second skillet, over low heat, combine remaining olive oil, remaining garlic, and undrained tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until somewhat thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.  Stir 1 1/2 cups of tomato mixture into ground beef, add ricotta and 2/3 cup of cheese.  Stir until combined.  Spoon 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce into 3-quart casserole dish.  Fill each pasta shell with about 1 T of meat and cheese mixture.  Arrange shells in baking dish.  Spoon remaining tomato sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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