California Central Coast Recipes

Penne or Shells Pizza Style

When you’re in the mood for pizza but don’t have the time or want the clean-up that making homemade pizza can entail, this is the recipe for you! –It has the same flavors and satisfaction of the favored pizza but not the work. –This is a favorite Friday-night dish of ours. ©2018, Penne or Shells Pizza Style
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


4 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 6 cloves garlic , finely chopped
3 cups crushed tomatoes Or if in season fresh tomatoes,, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Italian parsley , chopped
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 pound dry medium shells or penne pasta
16 oz. Fresh Mozzarella cheese , cut into small cubes
Parmesan cheese , freshly grated

Preparation Directions.

1 In a large non-reactive (stainless is best) saucepan, heat olive oil over medium –low heat. Add garlic and let cook until fragrant (one to two minutes.) Do not brown. Add tomatoes. Stir- picking up bits of garlic from the bottom to disburse. Add Italian Seasoning and parsley. Continue to cook and pick up bits of ingredients up through the sauce until the sauce turns slightly orange. Correct seasonings to taste.

2 In the meantime, cook pasta in boiling salted water as directed on package. Drain and add to sauce. Stir thoroughly.

3 Add cut-up Mozzarella to pasta mixture and stir gently to combine and distribute evenly.

4 Cover pan and let Mozzerella melt. If Mozzerella is very firm and not quickly melting and becoming stringy, heat pan very gently on very- low to help melt cheese for two – three minutes; DO NOT STIR while cheese is melting. Remove from heat and serve on dinner plates. Grate Parmesan on top of each serving and pass more Parmesan cheese at the table.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Wine suggestion: This recipe pares well with a lot of different wines. The wine selection needs a bit of acidity to stand up to the tomato sauce, and should not be sweet, other wise the tomato sauce will taste a bit flat.

A young red wine like a Chianti or American Sangiovese is good match for this.

A tip from Sue!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds when you get through with a brick of Parmesan cheese! They can be used to flavor soups deliciously. Store them in the freezer in a plastic bag, and use as needed.

The Parmesan rinds give unbelievable flavor and soul to soups and will turn a bowl of soup into an "entree" worthy of any guest. I generally use about two ounces of Parmesan cheese rinds to a stockpot of soup. Add them in after you've added the liquid and let them cook along with the rest of your soup's ingredients. You won't be sorry!

read more:
Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind