Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stuffed Shells

A couple of weeks ago, we had a really good snowstorm. It snowed all day & into the night. When I left work that evening, I wanted to take a picture of the snow to post here. None of them really turned out because it was too dark and too stormy, but this one was kinda cool. I had left my flash on by mistake and this is what I got - light reflecting off the snowflakes.

The master of the house loves the snow, but sometimes his feet get cold & he hops around on 3 legs. When we got home, we came in the back way of our building but Simon wanted to run around first. Then, he started his hop and had to be carried in. How sad is this? Who's in charge do you think?

The next day, as everyone was digging out, I had a day off and did a bit of cooking. I decided on this delicious pasta dish. It comes from the cookbook Crazy Plates by the sister team of Janet & Greta Podleski.

I also had a sun-dried tomato and assiago baguette from my favorite bread bakery, Pane Fresco. This was such a delicious meal, it required a delicious wine.

Jim got this bottle of Barolo as a tip from a customer, if you can believe it. We'd had it sitting for about a year and I thought it would be a good time to try it.

The customer he got it from was an Italian gentleman who was from area where this wine is produced. He'd had this in his cellar for quite a while - it's a 1997! It went wonderfully well with the pasta. The wine had softened nicely, but would still have been able to age for a couple of more years easily. What a wonderful tip!

(from Crazy Plates)
18 jumbo pasta shells
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup minced onions
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry & chopped
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
2 tbsp. chopped basil
2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
Heat olive oil in a small, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook & stir for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Remove from heat and let cool.
Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine carrot-onion mixture, spinach, cheese, egg white and basil. Mix well. Stuff each cooked shell with a heaping tablespoonful of filling.
Pour 1 cup pasta sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over shells. Cover and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
Makes 6 servings


Shawn Powers said...

I just had stuffed shells for the first time in my life yesterday. What a fun little food! It's like lasagna but bite sized. :)

And congrats on the wonderful tip! The Barolo looks to be wonderful. (So many wines actually degrade after aging that long, it takes a really nice one to benefit from the age)

theONLYtania said...

What a great picture of the snow! It's cool when accidents turn out looking good!

Hey.. everybody knows the dogs really run the show! What a cutie.

Those stuffed shells look great! I'm sure there are vegan recipes out there.. I might take a swing at it. I think tonight I'm going to try making mac and cheeze for the first time!

Melody said...

I love stuffed shells... I rarely have the patience for them, though.

I know that very hop.. J does it all the time when it's too cold for her precious paws... although, I doubt she would allow us to pick her up.. she is such a dominant dog!

Nikki said...

Sammy tries to pull the cold paws trick on us, but he knows we won't pick him up, so he'll just cry. He doesn't realize that he's so big and carrying just isn't an option.

Your stuffed shells look beautiful! Mine always split apart.

scottishvegan said...

I love the snow photo…it’s really cool! And the doggy photo is adorable!

Urban Vegan said...

great abstracted snow photo!

Simon looks like he had TOO muh fun.

I can;t remember the last time I had stuffed shells--an the wine looks like the perfect accompaniment.

Judy said...

I love love love all the Podleski sister's books! Pretty much everything that I have made (which is a lot!) from all 3 books is fantastic. I haven't tried this before, but I'll have to now!

bazu said...

Oh my god, that picture of Simon made me giggle. I have a snow on the window picture just like yours!

Carrie™ said...

I'm sure this could be veganized easily enough. Perhaps a combo of silken tofu that's been blended (in place of ricotta) and crumbled tofu for the cottage cheese. Both cheeses are very mild in flavour anyway. Maybe even an Italian herb flavoured tofu in place of the cottage cheese. Maybe silken tofu and some grated Follow Your Heart mozzarella? Just leave the egg white out all together. I quite often do. There are many versions of vegan Parmesan cheese out there, so that sub would be easy.
When I cook my shells, I leave them a little under-done. It makes them less fragile for filling and they finish cooking in the oven anyway. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe!

Candi said...

That's a very artistic snow fall photo!! ;)

I laughed at Simon's transportation! Lol! That is so cute!

The shells look great, and look even better paired up with that wine!! :P