I love pasta shells – little boats of yummy goodness that can be filled with mixtures from sweet to savory. Today’s offering welcomes back crispy pancetta bits, and cheese. Does it get any better? Actually it does…
1 box of jumbo pasta shells
1 lb hamburger
1 container pasta sauce of choice
~5 oz of cooked spinach, drained (you can either use a box of frozen spinach or 1/2 bag of frozen organic, I place it in a bowl and pour a cup of hot water over it to defrost, then squeeze out the liquid later)
~2 cups shredded Mozzarella (vegan mozzarella is pictured above)
~1 cup shredded pecorino or parmesan
1 package of sliced pancetta from the deli (you can normally find this in the fine cheeses area). Dice/chop the pancetta for easy frying.
1/4 tsp cinnamon
~ 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F while you prepare the dish.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until tender but not completely soft – remember, you’re going to be baking this later! When the pasta is done remove and cool with cold water to stop the cooking process.
3. While the water boils heat olive oil in a skillet and brown the sliced pancetta. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to drain.
4. Add hamburger to fry pan and brown in pancetta oil.
5. Drain hamburger and place in a large bowl, add pancetta, mozzarella, spinach and cinnamon. Mix well. Add salt to taste.
6. In a large baking dish pour ~1 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom and spread evenly. Then carefully stuff a shell with ~2 tablespoons of hamburger mixture.
7. Pour remaining pasta sauce over the shells when finished. Place in oven and cook until the pasta bubbles and shell tips begin to turn brown (or the cheese is well melted).
8. Serve with crusty bread, a glass of vino, a good movie, the possibilities are endless…