Prep 45 mins
Cook 45 mins
This was sent to me by a friend a couple of years back. And according to her ... she found it on the web. Being a vegetarian she was always looking for some unique ways to enjoy traditional dishes since her boyfriend was a "meat eater.". Now her pasta, and cheeses were tailored to her diet requirements so I tailored it to mine. Now if you want, you are welcome to make your own tomato sauce, etc. and I do sometimes, but there are some quality pasta sauces out there. When my tomato plants are flourishing, absolutely make my own sauce. I changed a few ingredients, but these are definitely worth it. It is a little work but so well worth it and you will certainly have leftovers. I served a chilled romaine salad with a blue cheese vinaigrette and some crusty Italian bread with a basil butter. This is good for a weekend dinner, or company. They also freeze very well.
- 1 (16 ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
- 1 (24 ounce) jar pasta sauce, use your favorite ... I like mine with extra mushrooms, but anything you like
- 1 (8 ounce) container cottage cheese, no low fat
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (for the shells)
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (for the topping)
- 1⁄3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 5 ounces fresh mushrooms, rough chopped
- 1 red pepper, rough chopped
- 2 zucchini, rough grated
- 1⁄2 cup chopped black olives
- 1 large shallot, diced very fine
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- 1⁄2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- fresh ground pepper
- kosher salt
- Pasta -- Cook shells in boiling water until al dente according to directions. Don't over cook. Remove to a pan lined with parchment so they won't stick and just let them cool.
- Filling -- Now a food processor is what you need for this, and it will take a few times to use but you will see how easy it is. First - Add the cottage cheese and puree until smooth. Add to a large bowl.
- Second - Add red pepper and pulse a couple of times until fine minced, NOT a puree, just minced. Then add to the bowl with the cottage cheese.
- Third - Add the mushrooms and again, just pulse a couple of times until minced. Again add to the cottage cheese bowl.
- Fourth - Add the spinach, same thing, don't make it a puree, just well minced. Then add to the bowl.
- Fifth - Add the shredded zucchini, shallots and chopped olives.
- NOTE: I shred the zucchini and then lay on a paper towel with just a sprinkle of salt to let it drain so it is not too wet or watery. It really helps.
- Six - Add seasonings, bread crumbs and cheeses to the vegetable and cottage cheese mix and blend.
- Shells -- Stuff your shells. Don't worry, over stuff and fill them good.
- Casserole time -- Add about 1/2-3/4 cup sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 pan (sprayed with pam) to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the shells, it should be just the right amount to fill in the pan. Spoon the extra sauce over the top, be sure to get a little of sauce on each shell. Then top with the remaining mozzarella, a little on each shell.
- NOTE: Make sure that the shells fill up the pan you don't want them rolling around in the pan. You want a tight fit or where they are all snug. You can always use a smaller pan if necessary, but for me a 13x9 usually works out well.
- Bake -- 375 for about 40 minutes (note, I have made this in a couple of different ovens and one time it was bubbly and hot in 30 minutes, so just check after 30 minutes to be safe. It really has to do with you oven temperature, but I have found 375 seems to work best). I covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for the last minutes of cooking time to get the cheese bubbly.
- Enjoy! Trust me, even meat lovers will love these.