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Stuffed Shell Surprise Recipe

Photo by Kathy Whyte

Stuffed Shell Surprise (prep. time about 20 minutes. Serving size: 4 shells per person)

12 large pasta shells

2 C. ricotta cheese

1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

½ C. grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion flakes

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. oregano

A pinch each of salt and black pepper

1 package of thin pepperoni sticks (the kind sold for snacks)

1 C. jar spaghetti sauce or you can make your own by cooking down diced onion, green pepper, diced garlic and diced tomato in about 2 Tb. Olive oil.

Bring well salted water to a boil and cook shells until tender and drain.  While pasta is cooking, mix together the ricotta, half of the mozzarella, garlic powder, onion flakes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Heat oven to 375. Allow the shells to cool enough to handle. Cut the pepperoni sticks to the length of the shells.  Spread a little sauce onto the bottom of a baking pan. Fill the shells about half full with the cheese mixture. Put the pepperoni stick on top and top off with more cheese mixture.  Place the stuffed shells in the pan and spoon the rest of the sauce over the top and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese and parmesan on top.  Bake for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and shells are warmed through.

For a vegetarian “surprise” substitute a couple calamada in the middle of the shell.

Serve with salad and garlic bread*.

(* Notice in the photo, the purple color of the bread.  Mario Batali showed this on The Chew and it’s really good:

Split a baguette length-wise. Brush the inside with your favorite red wine. Rub diced garlic and a little salt on both halves and sprinkle with your favorite herbs.  Wrap in foil and bake along with the shells. Crusty on the inside and moist on the inside.  Just don’t be too generous when brushing with the wine or the bread may become mushy)

 

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