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Shotgun Shells Recipe (Oven Baked)

Oven-Baked Shotgun Shells – Blast Your Taste Buds with Flavorful Goodness!”

Lock and load your taste buds for an explosive culinary experience with our Oven-Baked Shotgun Shells recipe. These pasta delights, also known as conchiglie, are stuffed to the brim with a savory mixture that will hit your palate with a burst of flavors. Baked to perfection, this dish is a surefire way to satisfy your craving for a hearty and comforting meal. Let’s dive into the world of Oven-Baked Shotgun Shells and discover how to create a flavorful explosion on your dinner table!

Ingredients:

For the Shotgun Shells:

  • 1 box (12 oz) jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 cans (14 oz each) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Topping:

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Shells:

  • Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions. Drain and toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper to prevent sticking.

2. Brown the Meat:

  • In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef or Italian sausage until fully cooked. Add finely chopped onions and minced garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent. Drain excess fat.

3. Make the Filling:

  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked meat mixture with ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan, egg, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create a flavorful stuffing.

4. Stuff the Shells:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Carefully fill each jumbo pasta shell with the meat and cheese mixture, arranging them in the baking dish.

5. Prepare the Tomato Sauce:

  • In a saucepan, combine crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until it thickens slightly.

6. Pour on the Sauce:

  • Pour the tomato sauce over the stuffed shells, ensuring they are generously covered.

7. Add the Topping:

  • Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the top, creating a gooey and golden crust when baked.

8. Bake to Perfection:

  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

9. Garnish and Serve:

  • Let the baked Shotgun Shells rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped basil for a burst of color and freshness.

Cook Notes:

  • Customize the filling by adding diced sautéed mushrooms or spinach for extra flavor and nutrients.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta shells during the initial boiling as they will continue cooking in the oven.

Variations:

  1. Mushroom Madness:
    • Enhance the filling by incorporating sautéed mushrooms for an earthy and savory twist.
  2. Spinach Surprise:
    • Amp up the nutritional value by adding finely chopped spinach to the filling mixture.

Keto Version:

Ingredients:

  • Use cooked and drained cauliflower rice instead of pasta shells.
  • Substitute tomato sauce with a low-carb marinara sauce.

Instructions:

  1. Craft a keto-friendly version by swapping out the pasta for cauliflower rice and choosing a low-carb marinara sauce.

Low-Carb Version:

Ingredients:

  • Replace pasta shells with cooked and drained zucchini or eggplant slices.
  • Opt for a low-carb tomato sauce or make your own.

Instructions:

  1. Adapt this recipe to fit a low-carb lifestyle by using vegetable substitutes and a low-carb tomato sauce.

Oven-Baked Shotgun Shells are a delightful explosion of flavors that will leave your taste buds singing. With a savory meat and cheese filling nestled inside perfectly cooked pasta shells, all smothered in a rich tomato sauce, this dish is a true crowd-pleaser. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or explore the suggested variations, get ready for a culinary blast that will make this dish a regular star on your dinner table!

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