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Pepperoni Pasta Bake

36

It looks like your usual stuffed shells, but hidden under the cheese, pepperoni, and marinara is grated zucchini that kids will never detect.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Photography: Romulo Yanes

Source: Everyday Food, October 2012

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta (20 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups grated zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 3 cups marinara, divided
  • 28 jumbo pasta shells (7 ounces total), cooked according to package instructions
  • 26 small pepperoni slices (2 ounces total)
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella (3 ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, zucchini, basil, and egg; season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup marinara in a 9-by-13-inch broiler-proof baking dish. Fill each shell with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta mixture and arrange in an even layer in dish. Top with remaining 2 cups marinara, then pepperoni and mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Heat broiler, remove foil, and broil until cheese is browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Top with additional basil and serve.

Cook's Notes

Zucchini gives this dish freshness, lightness, and a green vegetable. Because it's grated instead of chopped, the addition won't make the end result too watery. To make individual servings, divide ingredients among smaller dishes and bake on a rimmed baking sheet, 25 minutes.

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