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!

Frying high fat meats

You can cut down on the calories of high-fat meats, by just adding a little water (instead of adding oil) to your frying pan until the meat's fat starts releasing and lubricating the pan, then cook with the frying pan covered. If you want a crispy coating, you uncover the pan or cook with the lid partially ajar.