This is a fabulous dish to serve at a special occasion. I have to tell you that it does take a little more time, but it is totally worth it. I know it seems like all my family does is carbo load from the pasta recipes I am posting; but remember, we are supposed to treat ourselves every so often, aren’t we? This recipe will serve 8 modest people. If you have a group of men eating this, it might serve 4. Females typically eat just two shells – they are the jumbo shells after all…Try to stick with the fresh herbs if you can. The fresh ones really take this recipe over the top.
24 jumbo pasta shells, uncooked
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1 (7 ounce) jar dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (32-ounce) jar spaghetti
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
1 to 2 T chopped fresh parsley
Cook shells according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet, stirring until meat browns and crumbles; drain. Add pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper. Cover and set aside.
Combine beef broth and next 5 ingredients in container of electric blender; cover and process until well blended. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until combined.
Stir tomato mixture into ground beef mixture.
Spoon 1 heaping tablespoonful of ground beef mixture into each shell. Arrange shells in a lightly greased 13x9x2 baking dish or oven proof serving dish. Pour spaghetti sauce over top.
Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until heated through (if you are covering with foil, spray the foil with non stick cooking spray before covering dish). Uncover; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and bake 5 additional minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Photo and recipe adapted from Southern Living Cookbook Classics