Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Golden Stuffed Pasta Shells




Photo by Leslie Perez. All rights reserved.

One of my favorite me-time moments are Saturday mornings when I spend time reading through cookbooks while sipping a cup of coffee or eating breakfast. Like most peaceful shabbat days, I get my dose of culinary inspiration for the week. Last Saturday morning, I crossed a shell pasta recipe that was rich and creamy. A bit too rich for my taste, so I brainstormed ways to make it a bit leaner than the original version.  My rendition was loaded with broccoli and my daughter couldn't stop eating it, turning this recipe into a wholesome hit.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 box of Primo pasta shells (250 g)
  • 3/4 cup Saputo reduced fat ricotta cheese (new kosher product under the Montreal Kosher Va'ad)  
  • 3/4 cup of light shredded cheese, I use Haolam brand
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 2 cups of frozen broccoli thawed (or boiled fresh  broccoli)
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced 
  • 1 red pepper. diced
  • 1 handful of parsley (cleaned appropriately) & for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a stock pot boil water, drizzle some salt and cook your pasta as directed on the package.
  2. Boil 3 cups of water in a medium sauce pan.
  3. Place your broccoli in the boiled water  - either to thaw the frozen broccoli or soften the fresh ones. After 3-5 minutes, drain the water and set aside the vegetable.
  4. Place the butter in a deep pan and saute your onions, red pepper and garlic.
  5. Once softened, add in oregano and tomato sauce and salt & pepper to taste and then broccoli and heat.
  6. By now your pasta should be ready, drain the water and set pasta aside.
  7. Put your vegetables in a food processor, pulse a few times (but not too frequently - you want to avoid turning it into a liquid). 
  8. Mix in ricotta cheese with the vegetable mixture and ad in either half or all of the mozzarella cheese (depending if you would like to use the remainder for topping .
  9. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  10. Take your pasta shells and place them in a baking sheet or Corningwear. Fill each shell with the ricotta and vegetable mixture. Do so gently, not to break the pasta.
  11. Once all pasta shells are filled, you can drizzle mozzarella cheese on top of the shells and then place them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. And voila, you have golden and wholesome pasta shells!