Stuffed shells…This is a dish I have not given the credit it deserves. Since my husband and kids love stuffed shells, I should make it more often, and I intend to do just that this fall and winter. The melted blend of cheeses, meat, spices and sauce will surely make you a fan. You can serve this with a fresh salad and all the extra fixin’s topped with semi-homemade Ranch dressing … mmmm, mmmm, GOOD!
2 lbs. ground chuck beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Italian seasoning (a good sprinkling) – Start with 1 Tbsp., adding more if needed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 box Barilla jumbo pasta shells
Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Prego Traditional)
1 can of diced tomatoes, optional
1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef (breaking up chunks until the beef is fine in texture), onions and garlic. Once cooked through, drain off the grease using a strainer or colander.
2. Put meat back into the skillet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings. While the beef is still warm add 3-4 cups of Mozzarella cheese and 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. (I use 3 cups Mozzarella and the 1 cup Parmesan, but you can use as much cheese as you like.) Mix together; allow it to sit and melt.
3. When cooled to room temperature, add 3 eggs. Mix well together (hands works best).
4. Prepare Barilla jumbo pasta shells according to the directions. Only cook the minimum time…do not overcook or the shells will be difficult to work with as the pasta will tear.
5. Pour half the jar of spaghettis sauce to layer the bottom of the 9×13 baking dish.
6. Stuff shells tightly with meat and cheese mixture. Smash the mixture together using a spoon, or your hands, which I find is the best and fastest way to stuff shells. Arrange the shells nicely in the baking dish. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce to cover the shells. Add a can of diced tomatoes on top of the shells (optional).
7. When ready to bake, bring to room temperature. Then bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees, until hot through.
Source: Friend of the family, LeAnn C.