Saturday, May 17, 2014

Back to Basics 22 - Stuffed Shells

So here's a cool thing I did recently... I MADE CHEESE!

Guys, I'm a cheesemaker now. Sort of. I made cream cheese and ricotta which are 2 of the easiest to make but still, I made it happen.
It's a really cool feeling to know that you are able to make something with your hands in your own kitchen. It's so rewarding to watch something as ordinary as milk transform into this thick, creamy and rich deliciousness. I highly recommend it. Especially if you are slathering the thick creamy cream cheese deliciousness on your own hot homemade onion bagels.

It's definitely something to write about in your diary: "Dear diary, I'm a badass. That is all."

Anyway, I made ricotta so I could stuff it into some pasta shells with spinach and homemade tomato sauce. This recipe does not disappoint. Trust me.


-24 jumbo pasta shells (8 ounces or so)
-1 and 1/2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
-2 onions finely chopped

-2 10oz packages of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

-2 cups of part-skim ricotta, or if you'd like you can make your own too!
-2/3 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
-1/2 cup of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
-1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
-1/8 teaspoon of salt
-Freshly ground pepper to taste
-1 large egg white, beaten
-3 cups of marinara sauce, homemade or low sodium and organic is best.

-Preheat oven to 375F.
-Cook the shells in salted boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse them under cold water. Leave those aside while you make the filling.

-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

-Add the thawed and drained spinach to the onions and mix well.
-Combine the ricotta, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of parmesan and nutmeg in a bowl.

-Add the spinach and onion mixture along with salt, pepper and egg white.

-Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.

-Stuff each shell with a generous 2-tablespoon serving of the filling. Place them in a single layer on the baking dish.

-Then top them with the last 2 cups of marinara sauce and sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top.

-Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Serve with some salad and you have a great meal for hosting!

Serving Size: 6 servings, 4 shells per person.
Nutritional Info:438 calories, 12g fat, 32mg cholesterol, 59g carbs, 25g protein, 7g fiber, 574mg sodium, 1121mg potassium

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