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Southwest Cowboy Stuffed Shells

Spin that pasta round and round, spin your homemade pasta recipe straight to the dinner table. This wonderful recipe will satisfy any cowboy or cowgirl. Saddle up those appetites because you are going to love Southwest Cowboy Stuffed Shells.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut in to 3/4' cubes
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can plum tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
  • 6 tablespoons red or white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can (4-ounces) green chilies, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs discarded, finely minced
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
     
  2. Meanwhile make the filling. Whisk together the ricotta and egg. Stir in the Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses, cilantro and pepper. (The filling can be made a day ahead; bring back to room temperature before using).
     
  3. Cook the shells in boiling, salted water just until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overcook the shells. Drain well. (Some of the shells will be broken, but you will only need 36 to 40 perfect shells for the recipe).
     
  4. While the pasta is cooking, make the tomato-chili sauce by sauteeing the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
     
  5. Add the tomatoes, wine, salt and pepper. (If using canned tomatoes, add about 1 cup of the liquid). Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes.
     
  6. Add the green chilies and jalapeno pepper and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes more. (The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated).
     
  7. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottoms each of 2 shallow 2-quart baking dishes.
     
  8. Preheat the oven to 350F.
     
  9. Stuff the shells by spooning about 1 Tablespoon of the filling into each. Place the shells, filled side up and close together but not touching, in the sauce-coated baking dish. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 4 hours before serving; bring back to room temperature before baking).
     
  10. Cover dishes with foil and bake in the preheated oven until hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.
     
  11. Meanwhile, reheat the reserved sauce over low heat. Serve the shells by spooning a liberal amount of tomato-chili sauce onto serving plates, and arrange shells on the sauce. Pass the remaining sauce separately.

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