Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pasta for a horde (or for yummy leftovers)

I've never tried making those big pasta shells before, but someone shared a recipe that looked intriguing for stuffed shells with broccoli. Well, I made it last weekend. H said it needed beef. T agreed, and said more cheese wouldn't hurt. I also discovered that I wasn't supposed to use the whole box of shells, so I'd cooked too many and needed to make more stuffing.

On the plus side, no one complained about the broccoli....

So here's the doctored version - with beef, more cheese(s), family-approved. It makes a LOT. I'm thinking it may be a great potluck dish, too.

Broccoli stuffed shells with Meat Sauce
1 package large shells
2 jars pasta sauce of choice (I like Newman's Own with mushrooms....)
1 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
1/2-1 cup parmesan cheese
1 12 oz package shredded mozzarella
1 12 oz package shredded Italian blend
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or mix of basil & oregano)
1/2 16 oz package of frozen brocolli
1 lb ground beef (more or less)
2 T dried onion flakes
pepper to taste
1/2 cup water (depending on sauce thickness may need a bit more or less)

Preheat oven to 375'. Brown ground beef. Add 1 can sauce & let simmer. Cook whole box of shells according to package directions. Defrost broccoli & mix with ricotta, parmesan, & half of each mozzarella & Italian cheeses, dried onion, Italian seasoning & pepper. (May add salt to taste, but I found it didn't need any.) Put about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish (12" x 18" - I think) & spread it around.

Stuff cooked shells with cheese mixture & arrange in a single (double for smaller pan) layer in the baking dish. Pour simmered beef & sauce mixture over the stuffed shells. Pour the remainder of the cold can of sauce on top. Add the water - I swished out the sauce jars & used the result - pouring around the edges so that the cheese mixture in the shells isn't drowned. Top with the remainder of the mozzarella & Italian cheese. Cover with foil & bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil & pop back in for another 5-10 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven & let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with vegetable of choice, salad & bread sticks.
It's not exotic, it reheats very nicely, and makes wonderful leftovers, too. And it will feed at least 6-8 (depending - if you have a whole crew of hearty eaters, possibly less). Leave the beef out & it's vegetarian - although definitely not a meal for the lactose intolerant!


Mrs Mom said...

Ohhhh boy that sounds delightful. We have been trying to find ways to get our two year old to eat his veggies, and I bet he would PLOW through that, broccoli and all! We will have to try it!!!!

THanks for sharing that! Will let you know how the crew here likes it. :)

fssunnysd said...

If you use the frozen broccoli that comes already fairly well chopped, it's hard to even tell it's in there - I'm not much of a broccoli fan, either! :)