|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.
- 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
- In a stock pot boil water, drizzle some salt and cook your pasta as directed on the package.
- Boil 3 cups of water in a medium sauce pan.
- 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.
- Place the butter in a deep pan and saute your onions, red pepper and garlic.
- Once softened, add in oregano and tomato sauce and salt & pepper to taste and then broccoli and heat.
- By now your pasta should be ready, drain the water and set pasta aside.
- Put your vegetables in a food processor, pulse a few times (but not too frequently - you want to avoid turning it into a liquid).
- 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 .
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- And voila, you have golden and wholesome pasta shells!