14 September, 2012

Stuffed Shells in Jalapeño Tomato Sauce

Until we find this recipe from Food and Wine Magazine (September 1986) that uses Montrachet cheese, this recipe from Dietician Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE is one to try. Sans sauce, she writes this dish can be be prepared and frozen for up to 1 week.

Stuffed Shells in Jalapeño Tomato Sauce ingredients
Makes 8 servings (at 248 calories each)
For the sauce:
Vegetable cooking spray
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, stemmed and minced
1 (28-oz) can salt-free Italian peeled tomatoes, crushed with juice

For the filling:
1-LB (16-oz) Mozzarella cheese, part-skim, shredded
1 (8-oz) container low-fat dry curd cottage cheese
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
2 egg whites
2 cups packed fresh basil, minced
Freshly ground pepper

For the pasta:
2 tsp bread crumbs

Notes:  I'll be increasing the fresh jalapeño pepper.

Make the sauce (up to 3 days ahead): Coat the bottom of a medium saucepan with vegetable spray and warm it over Medium-Low heat. Add onions, garlic and jalapeño pepper; cover and continue cooking over Medium-Low heat, until the onion is hot and translucent, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes with their juice; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to Low; cook partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the tomato sauce is reduced by 1/3, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly before transferring the sauce to a food processor; purée until smooth. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the filling (up to 24 hours ahead):  In a medium saucepan, mash together Mozzarella cheese and dry curd cottage cheese. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Cook the pasta:  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta shells until al dente, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes. Drain.

Assemble the dish:  Place a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat oven to 400°F. Spoon 1 cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of a large shallow (13- x 9-inch) baking dish. Stuff each shell with about 1 heaping Tbsp of the filling and place in baking dish, filling side up. Drizzle the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the shells.

Sprinkle bread crumbs over the tomato sauce. Bake in the preheated oven (on high rack) for 30 to 40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling, the top is lightly browned and the filling is heated through. Let the pasta cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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