Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

This recipe was from my very first cookbook.  Memories....  I thought it was delicious then, and I think it's delicious now.  It does have a meat sauce, but you can omit the meat if you'd like.  On the contrary, you can add some Italian sausage in addition to the hamburger for more meat.  :)  I'm more on the "more meat the merrier" side, but I was out of Italian sausage.  Shucks.   

 Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce:
source: Best Recipes of the Great Food Companies

1/2 c hamburger
1/2 onion, chopped
2 t minced garlic
15 oz tomato puree
6 oz tomato paste
1 t sugar
1/2 t black pepper
1 t basil
1 t salt

1 c broccoli
1 carrot
1/4 c chopped onion
1/2 lb ricotta
1 1/2 c mozzarella
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
2 t basil
Jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained

Brown the hamburger and onion in a large saucepan.  Once it is browned, remove the grease.  Add the remaining sauce ingredients and let it simmer for 45 minutes (or however long it takes you to get the rest ready.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Start the water for the shells.  Once the water is boiling, add the shells and cook for the minimum time listed on the package. 

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 c mozzarella cheesethe egg, and the Parmesan cheese.  Mix it all together.
 Place the broccoli, carrot, and onion in a food chopper and pulse until it's really small.   Add the vegetable mixture and basil to the cheese mixture. 
 Spread some of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. 
 Scoop some of the cheese mixture into the cooked shells.  Isn't it amazing how I can hold the shell, spoon the stuff in, and take a picture?  Yeah.
 Place the stuffed shells into the baking dish.
 Top with more marinara.
 Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 c of mozzarella.
 Bake, covered,  for 35 minutes. 
There you have it!  You can serve it with a salad, bread, or a vegetable side dish.  Pick your poison!  Only, don't serve poison to your family.  That is generally frowned upon by people- especially your family. :) 

Another perk to this meal is that you can add whatever vegetables your family likes: zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, red pepper, or whatever else you'd like.  You can even omit the vegetables altogether and just stuff it with the cheese mixture.  Either way, it'll be tasty.  Also, if you want to speed up the dish, you can use jarred spaghetti sauce.

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