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Stuffed Pasta Shells

Lasagna Stuffed Shells
Lasagna Stuffed Shells

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I love pasta – and cheese – and homemade pasta sauce. In fact, the only pasta sauce I eat is homemade. I am a bit finicky about what ends up in my sauce and what it tastes like. I love seasoning my homemade sauce by placing basil leaves in the bottom of the jars and using dried Italian seasoning in the sauce when I can it. By the time I am ready to use the sauce it has absorbed the flavor from the herbs I add and tastes out of this world. I always add the ground beef, bacon and other seasonings to the sauce as I am cooking it to serve. I just feel like it turns out better that way. I use red wine salt in my pasta sauce. If you don’t have and don’t want to make it, substitute a dash of burgundy wine. This sauce tastes even better if made the day before, refrigerated overnight and then reheated. This allows the wine and other seasonings to combine better so you end up with a sauce that has more flavor in my opinion.

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Stuffed Pasta Shells

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Ingredients

Units Scale
  • Ronzoni Jumbo Shells Pasta 12 oz
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 quart homemade pasta sauce, seasoned or unseasoned
  • 3 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons bacon bits
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic scapes
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small chili pepper, whole
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine salt

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Fill a large pot with lightly-salted water and a three to four drops of olive oil. Bring it to a rolling boil.
  3. Add the pasta, stirring as you do and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through but is still firm to bite, about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain well and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop it from continuing to cook. Set the shells aside.
  5. Grind the chili pepper, garlic cloves and garlic scapes in a grinder or mortar and pestle.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat to cook the ground beef in until it is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and rinse the ground beef with hot water to remove any excess grease.
  7. Add the bacon, spices and pasta sauce to the ground beef in the skillet. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  8. Spread half of the sauce into a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  9. Add the cottage cheese, 3/4 of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese a large mixing bowl and stir to combine well.
  10. Spoon the cheese mixture into the shells and set them into the prepared baking dish on top of the sauce.
  11. Once the shells are filled with the cheese mixture, pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
  12. Bake in oven about 30 minutes until the shells are hot in the center and the mozzarella cheese is melted and bubbly.
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