How was your Valentine’s Day? I spent mine with my favorite 4 year old boy and it was so much fun. We went out to lunch then drove around town trying to find a bowling alley that didn’t have a high school bowling tournament going on. Apparently that’s the thing to do on Valentine’s weekend. We finally found a place and bowled a game and played some arcade games. I don’t often get to spend time alone with him so it made for a really special day. When we got home we made heart shaped pizza and watched a movie. The perfect way to spend the day with my love.
Speaking of pizza, it is hands down a favorite amongst my guys. They literally would eat it every single day if I let them. And we may have this weekend but that’s beside the point. I like pizza as much as the next guy but my favorite carb comes in the form of pasta. When I think of the hardest food for me to give up, it’s always a toss up between pasta or cheese. Either one would be pretty disastrous in my world.
These shells are stuffed with ricotta and diced pepperoni then smothered in a quick homemade marinara and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. They can be filled with any of your favorite toppings to create your favorite pizza in pasta form. Although we love our traditional stuffed shells, I have to say these are even better. This dish comes together pretty quickly for an easy weeknight meal and you could even double the recipe and freeze half for another time. Who knew combining our favorite carbs would be so so good?
Pizza Stuffed Shells
For quick marinara:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. tomato sauce
3 oz. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
12 pasta shells, cooked al dente
15 oz. part skim ricotta
2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. diced pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add in the remaining marinara ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree, if desired.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta, egg, parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper and pepperoni. Divide filling evenly between the shells.
3. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9×9 pan and place shells in pan. Ladle 1 cup of sauce over the shells and top with mozzarella. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil then bake for another 15 minutes.