Original Maggiano’s Shells with Roasted Vegetables

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Thriving restaurant concepts refresh and update menus often, sometimes eliminating dishes from menus that, unfortunately, might have been somebody’s favorite. That’s what happened to reader Carolyn D. She and her family loved a Maggiano’s dish called “Shells with Roasted Vegetables,”–a flavorful blend of roasted vegetables, basil pesto and Parmigiano Reggiano broth– that was replaced on the menu by a different version of the dish, years ago. In response to Carolyn D.’s request, we tracked down the chef who originally developed the dish. With permission from Maggiano’s, here is the home-cook version of that original dish.

Makes 4 servings

Roasted Vegetables Ingredients

  • 2 ½ oz olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp basil pesto
  • 20 oz mix of zucchini and yellow squash
  • 12 oz peeled carrots
  • 1 lb button mushrooms, washed and dried
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Parmesan Broth Ingredients

  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 4 oz Parmigiano Reggiano rinds

Pasta Ingredients Ingredients

  • 1 lb shell pasta
  • 1 oz olive oil

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp finely-minced garlic
  • 2 oz butter
  • Reserved parmesan broth
  • Simple tomato sauce, ½ cup
  • 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • Reserved roasted vegetables
  • 2 Tbsp basil pesto
  • Reserved pasta
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions

  1. Make vegetables: Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine pesto and oil together and reserve. Cut the squash and carrots into ¾ inch dice and toss with 2 oz of pesto/oil. Toss the mushrooms with remaining pesto oil. Place vegetables—don’t crowd–on a sheet tray and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 500 degrees until nicely browned and cooked through. Reserve.
  2. Make broth: Combine broth with cheese rinds. Simmer slowly to infuse broth—about one hour. Be careful to stir rinds so they don’t stick and burn on bottom of pot. After one hour, puree rinds and broth. Strain through a fine strainer. Reserve.
  3. Make pasta: Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water for approx 6 to 7 minutes. Drain pasta (DO NOT RINSE.) Toss with olive oil and reserve.
  4. Make sauce: In saute pan, sweat garlic with 1 Tbsp butter without browning. Add reserved parmesan broth, tomato sauce, dried tomatoes, and roasted vegetables. Heat to bubbling. Add pesto and remaining 1 oz. of butter. Bring back to a simmer.
  5. Finish dish: Add reserved pasta and cook together to blend all flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings by adding salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheese on top.

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