Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella and Meat Sauce

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1.00 LBS
Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella and Meat Sauce
Author: Julia Frey of Vikalinka
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 lbs ground beef, extra-lean
  • 2 cups/800 gr/2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup/ 125 ml store-bought pesto
  • 1 lbs pasta shells
  • 1½ cups/150 gr mozzarella, grated
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Heat the oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Cook chopped onion in olive oil over low heat for 5-7 minutes until soft but not coloured.
  3. Add ground beef and cook, stirring it the whole until no longer pink.
  4. Add, salt, chopped basil and canned tomatoes, bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, stir one in a while and break up any large tomato chunks with a wooden spoon.
  5. While the sauce is simmering, cook the shells in a large pot according to package instructions. It's important not to overcook pasta but cook it al dente as it will be further cooked in the oven.
  6. At the end of cooking time stir pesto into the sauce and take it off the heat.
  7. Drain pasta and gently toss it with the sauce in the same pot the pasta was cooked in.
  8. Put half of the pasta in the baking dish and sprinkle with half of mozzarella and Parmesan.
  9. Top it up with the remaining pasta and sprinkle with more mozzarella and Parmesan.
  10. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until cheese is golden and pasta is hot and bubbly.