Baked Shells with Meat Sauce, Pesto and Romano

by Monica Bennion on March 22, 2012

A true crowd-pleaser to pair with our food-friendly, medium-bodied Mountain Selection Barbera.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
2 15oz. cans, chopped fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup prepared or homemade pesto
3/4 lb. medium pasta shells
8 oz. mozzarella, grated, divided
1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese, divided

DIRECTIONS
1) Heat the over to 400.  Oil a large baking dish (about 9 x 13 inches).
2) In a large stainless-steel frying pan, heat the 2 tbsp. oil over moderately low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up, until the meat is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.  Drain off any excess fat.
3) Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.  Removed the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.
4) Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the shells until just done, about 10 minutes.  Drain and toss with the sauce.  Put half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the mozzarella and half of the Romano cheese.  Add the remaining pasta and cover with the remaining mozzarella and Romano.  Bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Monica Bennion

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