The weather has been BLAH for weeks now, and that means we’re spending more nights at home. L whipped up this quick/healthy (but also deliciously comforting) pasta dish on Saturday night.
16 jumbo pasta shells
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound baby spinach (or 8 oz frozen spinach, thawed)
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
16 oz skim ricotta cheese (or 8 oz ricotta and 8 oz part-skim mozarella, grated)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well then toss with olive oil in a large bowl; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat some olive in a wide pan over medium heat. Add red onion and garlic and cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add spinach and cook until wilted (or softened, if you used frozen), a few minutes more.
Add spinach, onion and garlic to bowl with ricotta, mozzarella (if using), egg and basil to make the filling.
Spray the bottom of a shallow baking dish (large enough to hold the shells in one later) with non-stick cooking spray. Add a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce in the bottom. Fill each shell with spinach mixture and arrange in the dish.
Pour remaining sauce over and around the stuffed shells and top with Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover with foil and bake until hot throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe.
Pour remaining sauce over and around the stuffed shells and top with Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover with foil and bake until hot throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.
Toast nuts in the oven or a frying pan until they’re golden and fragrant. Careful – this only takes a few minutes! Let cool. (This took me a few tries – I am easily distracted.)
Wash and dry kale, and trim all of the stems off. You should just have the leaves left. OR, use bagged kale leaves. These are usually available in a 16 oz package – use half for this recipe. Use the other half for green smoothies.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop the kale into the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, swirl the kale around a few times until it wilts.
Pour the kale into a colander and rinse immediately with cold water. Press out as much water as you can using a dishtowel.
Place the nuts, kale, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. You may need to add more olive oil to reach desired consistency.
To refrigerate, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto. Will stay fresh for up to 3 days. To freeze, place desired portions in small containers with plastic directly on the surface of the pesto, or place in plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to two months.
This tasted so fresh! Joe and I ate it on whole wheat penne Friday night, and my friend Kate and I enjoyed it on pizza Sunday night. Definitely a fresh, healthy take on a classic.
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