Jim's Stuffed Pasta Shells
We had a very good friend, Jim, that was one of those special friends that would jump in and do anything for you, he was just a great soul. He worked with my hubby when we were all stationed in Southern California and he loved all things Texas/western, (Cowboy life). Nope he wasn't from the west, he was born and raised in Ohio and he told me once that he envied the background we came from. But I believe he really didn't need to because we all had arrived at the same place and time in life together no matter if we came from Ohio or Texas. We were all displaced in Southern California but we had managed to create a group of friends with that special bond that comes from being away from childhood friends and close family and all of us were able to make it our home. These friends became our family, we had Thanksgiving and Christmas together, celebrated our kids birthdays together, weddings and other holidays, we were all in a bunch. It was hard for this misplace Texas Gal to "blend" but with the help of other misplaced friends, the hubby and I made it our home, and I believe all of us became better people because of having this diverse group of "misplaced" friends. We could and still can, count on all of them to be there for us, even though we are all scattered throughout the United States now.
This Stuffed Pasta Shell recipe is from Jim, he gave it to me after he cooked two pans of these awesome shells for a party I was throwing. I had planned a girls get-to-gather at my house but I came down with the flu. Jim stepped in and took over my kitchen and produced these awesome shells and then left them for my girlfriends and I to enjoy. See, true friend right there! His wife, Liz and I are still great friends and, even though she is now living on the east coast, we are still able to keep up with each other to support, cheer and laugh at where life is taking us and sometimes cry.
Jim died early in life, way too early. Soon after we transferred out of Southern California, we received the news that the Good Lord had taken Jim. But Jim had left a mark in this world by his open, honest and giving ways which is the way any great Cowboy leaves his mark. Yep, He was a Cowboy and here in Texas that is one of the biggest compliments, I can give this sweet soul from Ohio.
Jim's Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 1 lb of Italian Sausage, bulk or links
- 1 1/2 lbs of mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 3 Tablespoons oregano
- 3 tablespoons basil
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1 quart of pasta sauce
- 1 box jumbo pasta shells
1. Prepare the shells according to package instructions, drain but keep moist
2. Remove casings if using link sausage and brown both meats in a dutch oven or large skillet
3. Add onions and garlic and continue cooking until onions are translucent
4. Drain the meat and place in a large bowl, add oregano, basil and parsley
5. Stir in 1 lb of the mozzarella cheese and mix well until cheese is melted, add about 1/4 of the sauce
6. Pour another 1/4 of the sauce into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish to coat the bottom
7. As soon as the shells are cool enough to handle, stuff them with the meat mixture and place in dish on top of the sauce
8. After all the shells are filled and placed in the baking dish, pour the remaining sauce over the shells coating them well.
9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, cover and bake at 300 degrees for about 35 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted
10. Sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley, optional
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