Sunday, May 12, 2013

Northern Italian Meat Stuffed Shells

My family loves all kinds of Italian food, from spaghetti to lasagna. We also love stuffed shells with the traditional cheese filling, but this time I wanted to make meat stuffed shells. 

Wonderful flavor, easy to do, makes a nice Sunday dinner.  Serve with some hard rolls and a side salad for a complete meal.

1 1/2  lbs ground beef
1 large onion, diced                           
1 clove garlic, chopped (or use 1-2 tsp. jarred, minced garlic)                           
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded 
4 ounces 5 or 6 cheese Italian cheese blend, shredded                          
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or dried parsley flakes)
1 egg, beaten
2 - 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
1 - 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dry red wine (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water for pasta with a little salt and oil added

Meanwhile in a large skillet brown ground beef with onion and garlic; drain and cool

Cook pasta in water approx. 9 minutes or until easy to handle but not completely cooked through (this makes them easier to stuff and they won't tear apart so easily)

While pasta is cooking, combine meat, mozzarella cheese, Italian cheese blend cheese, bread crumbs, egg, and parsley; season with salt and pepper

Spray a 13 x 9 - inch pan with cooking spray and cover the bottom with about 1/3 of the tomato sauce and 1/3 of the petite diced tomatoes

Stuff cooked drained shells (I got about 22-24 shells stuffed from the box) with the meat mixture and place in rows in a pan on top of the sauce.

Pour remaining sauce and diced tomatoes evenly over top of shells. Splash the 1/3 cup red wine evenly over all; sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese and more 5 or 6 cheese Italian blend cheese.

Cover and bake in 350 one (1) hour, uncover, and continue to bake 10 more minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.  

Let sit 5 minutes before serving.



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