Today’s post is going to be simple and to the point. I love Italian Food. Northern Italian is my favorite, but anything Italian is great. While I prefer to stuff my own shells, a good quality frozen-stuffed shell can be just as delicious with a lot less effort. Skip cooking the shells, mixing the filling, letting the shells cool to the point that they can be easily handled, piping the filling into the shells – you get the picture. Using frozen shells allows you to skip over all of that and go straight to the sauce, the assemble and the bake. It lets kitchen clean up be a snap.
Don’t get me wrong. Making your own cheese filling and stuffing the shells by hand is delicious. Let’s face it, unless your are a contestant on Worst Cooks, from scratch is always better than store-bought. That does not mean store-bought can’t be delicious. The flavor in this dish comes from a rich, well seasoned sauce.
Make a nice salad, open a bottle of wine and warm some bread. Kick off the shoes, sit, relax and enjoy.
Cheese-Stuffed Pasta Shells in a Meat Sauce
Ingredients – Shells
24 Large Frozen Cheese-Stuffed Pasta Shells
Ingredients – Meat Sauce
1 lb Italian Sausage, mild
1 Jar Favorite Pasta Sauce (24 oz)
¼ Cup Red Wine
1 Can Diced Italian Style Tomatoes (15 oz), untrained, divided
Italian Seasoning Blend, to taste
Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Brown Italian Sausage in a large skillet. As meat browns, break into little pieces. Once cooked, drain meat. Mix in pasta sauce and HALF of the diced tomatoes. Add wine to the now empty pasta jar, swirling around to gather any remaining sauce. Pour into meat mixture. Stir well to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Pour meat sauce mixture into a large casserole dish. Nestle pasta shells on the sauce, open side up. Pour remaining diced tomatoes over shells, cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Ingredients – Cheese Topping – optional
1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Chopped Parsley for garnish
In a bowl, combine remaining ½ cup Mozzarella cheese with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Once shells have baked for 45 minutes, sprinkle with cheese mixture and bake uncovered additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve.