Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stuffed Shells

If you're going to be noshing on cookies and gulping eggnog during the holidays, then you might as well fill yourself with a good pasta dinner! This party favorite is great for sharing, and versatile enough to make substitutions with other ingredients you might have on hand. I'll be away for the rest of December, so happy holidays to all and enjoy all the great winter veggies that will be on hand at your holiday table!

The Whats:

* 1 box of large whole wheat pasta shells
* 2 tbsp. butter
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 2 tsp. nutmeg
* 1 tbsp chopped basil leaves
* 1 tbsp. white wine
* 1 egg
* salt & pepper to taste
* 2 cups fat free ricotta
* 1 box of frozen spinach, or 2 10 oz. bags of fresh spinach
* 2 cups tomato sauce
* 2/3 cup shredded parmiggiano reggiano or pecorino

The Hows:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cook for 10 to 15 minutes- pasta should be chewy and not quite al dente. Drain pasta. Fill a large bowl with cold water and place the shells in the cold water until ready to use.

2) In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add spinach by the handful, cooking until wilted and cooking liquid boils off; mix in salt, pepper, basil, nutmeg, and white wine. Remove from heat and allow ten minutes to cool.

3) Transfer spinach mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add ricotta and egg and beat well to mix. Taste for seasoning and add more nutmeg, salt, or pepper if desired.

4) Spread about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of a large baking pan. Remove a pasta shell from the cold water, shake excess water off. Fill with 2 to 3 tbsp of ricotta-spinach mix and place stuffed shell in the baking pan; repeat until your ricotta-spinach mixture is finished. Spoon remaining sauce over the shells, and sprinkle shells with parmesan cheese. Bake shells for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

No comments: