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Veal Stuffed Pasta Shells

Family get togethers are a perfect time to enjoy a baked pasta. Filling the pasta with ground Ontario veal makes it a meal to remember. Put the shells together the night before then heat the sauce the next day and reheat it all covered in the oven until it’s hot. Making this ahead will leave you more time to enjoy your family and guests.

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 each carrot and celery stalk, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb (454 g) ground Ontario veal
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) basil pesto
  • 1 jar (700 mL) strained tomatoes (passata), divided
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh basil
  • 22 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup (250 mL) 35% whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped fresh basil and parsley

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Serves/Yield: 20 stuffed shells

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper for about 8 minutes or until softened. Stir in veal and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Stir in pesto and 1 cup (250 mL) of the passata until combined. Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella and basil; set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta shells for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

In a saucepan, whisk together remaining passata, whipping cream and Parmesan and bring to a simmer. Pour about 2/3 of the sauce into greased baking dish.

Mound each shell with veal mixture and place in dish.

Drizzle remaining sauce over stuffed shells; cover and bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with chopped basil and parsley to serve.

Tip: Make the dish without baking; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Add about 10 minutes to baking time.

You can substitute Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce for the passata if it’s unavailable.

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