Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pasta Shells with Zucchini

Recipe from:

1 lb jumbo pasta shells
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
FILLING 1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium zucchini
1 bunch spinach (about 1/2 lb)
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/4 cup basil
1/4 cup unsalted butter or 1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28 ounce) cans plum tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 FILLING: Melt butter over medium heat in a large, heavy dutch oven.
2 Add onions& garlic; cook until onions are tender& wilted, stirring occasionally.
3 PREPARE ZUCCHINI: Wash well, taste a bit of the skin from each& peel only if it tastes bitter.
4 Grate& place in a colander in the sink.
5 sprinkle with about 2 tsps of salt& let excess liquid drain for 30 minutes.
6 Rinse with cold water to remove most of the salt& then toss on a clean tea towel (or paper towels) to dry before cooking.
7 Add drained zucchini to dutch oven& cook until any moisture evaporates.
8 PREPARE SPINACH: Wash well& trim off tough stems.
9 Place leaves, with water from washing still clinging to them, in a large pot.
10 Cook for a few minutes or just until leaves have wilted.
11 Let cool, then wring dry in a clean tea towel& chop.
12 Add spinach to the dutch oven and combine thoroughly.
13 Remove from heat& allow the mixture to cool.
14 Drain off excess liquid.
15 Beat eggs in a medium sized bowl; add ricotta& beat until smooth.
16 Add Parmesan and seasonings; mix well.
17 Combine with vegetable mixture in the dutch oven, mix thoroughly; set aside.
18 SAUCE: Melt butter in large, heavy pot; cook onions& garlic until tender and wilted.
19 Add tomatoes, including their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
20 Cook for 30- 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
21 Purée and test for seasonings.
22 Set aside.
23 Pasta: Cook shells in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions until"el dente".
24 Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and prevent sticking.
25 Using a colander, gently shake shells to drain excess water.
26 Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish.
27 Spoon some of the filling into each shell& arrange, stuffed side up, in the casserole dish.
28 Pour sauce over the shells& sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
29 (If you can only find small shells, just layer them on the bottom of the casserole dish, cover with a layer of filling, a layer of sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan).
30 Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes or until heated through and bubbling.