I had a box of large shell pasta in the pantry and wanted it gone – it was a big box, and was taking up entirely too much space. Thing is, I wasn’t really feeling the love for the stuffed shells I’ve made in the past. They were good, but I was just not in the mood – and I was fresh out of spinach.
Off to da Google! Well, actually, off to bigoven.com, for to see what enticing options they could provide.
pizza stuffed shells – with sausage and pepperoni and green pepper and ‘shrooms and…
well, it was not gonna happen that way, but I was liking the direction it was heading, so I poked around the rest of the pantry – happily realizing that I’d be shifting that large box of shells for the last time – and this is what I came up with.
•Jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
•6 oz marinated artichokes, drained
•4 oz diced pimiento, drained
•2 cups diced pepperoni
•1 tsp crushed red pepper
•16 oz cottage cheese
•1/2 cup shredded provolone
•1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
*Note: the original recipe called for adding cooked and drained Italian sausage, but I had some leftover sauce that was already kinda heavy on the beef and pork, so I added the artichokes and thought it a good swap. You do what you like.
Heat your oven to 375º.
Chop the artichoke hearts and toss together with the pepperoni, pimiento, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl.
Combine the mozzarella and provolone in another bowl, then stir half – about 1/2 cup – into the artichoke and pepperoni mixture along with the cottage cheese.
Brush a large baking pan with a bit of olive oil, then line the bottom of the pan with a bit of the spaghetti sauce.
Spoon the filling mixture into the cooked shells and arrange in the baking pan.
I used a 2-1/2 quart, 11.75″ x 8.75″ pan which held about 25 stuffed shells. There was enough (filling and shells) left that I put together a second, smaller pan with another half dozen stuffed shells, then wrapped it and stashed it in the freezer for another day.
Top the shells with more spaghetti sauce, the remaining mozzarella and provolone, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the cheese is nicely melted, the shells heated through, and the sauce is nice and bubbly.
So good, in fact, that I am considering picking up another big ole box of shells, just as soon as I’ve finished with that extra casserole in the freezer.
We thoroughly enjoyed the shells, and then the leftovers, with a nice asparagus, feta, sun dried tomato and romaine salad and a sprinkling of finely shredded Parmesan.