Pasta is one of our favorite types of comfort food. Now that the temperatures have been getting a little cooler, at least cold enough that a fire in the wood stove is welcome, comfort food has been making its way to the menu more often. Also, the fact that our annual order of organic beef cuts from a local farm are now in our freezer, I realize that we will have a lot of meat left over from last year! So, that means we need to be having meat nearly every night! Especially since our pork cuts will be coming in soon too. One new dish that graces our table occasionally, are these stuffed shells.
I have always liked stuffed shells, and lasagna, but my husband detests ricotta cheese. So, I never make those type of dishes. I have tried a few recipes here and there that didn’t have ricotta cheese, but I wasn’t thrilled about them. So, I finally decided to take matters in my own hands, and make up my own recipe. I am not sure why I didn’t do it sooner, it was so easy! This recipe is really quite simple, but I really like it. And the rest of the family will eat it too! This is a great, simple comfort food meal that is pretty quick. The only step that takes the most time is, stuffing the shells. It’s a great way to get kids involved and make the process go a little faster!
Island Bakes Original
- 2 lbs hamburger
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 oz. jumbo shells
- 1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce (our favorite is fire roasted tomatoes and garlic by Newman's Own)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Set aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the hamburger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the hamburger is no longer pink, chopping with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Drain any fat. Return to the heat and stir in the spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the hamburger is completely cooked through. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Let cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the shells and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain well. Run cool water over the shells for a minutes so they aren't so hot to handle when stuffing.
- To assemble the shells, place about 2 spoonfuls of the meat mixture into each shell and line up in the prepared pan. When all the hamburger mixture is gone, pour the sauce evenly over the top of the shells.* Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese over the top. Cover with tinfoil and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and serve.
*I have stirred the sauce in with the meat mixture instead of spreading over the top and both ways are great! So do what you prefer.