Cheesy Stuffed Shells
- For the Sauce:
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 28 -ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Freshly ground pepper
- For the Shells:
- 1 12 -ounce box jumbo pasta shells
- 8 ounces silken tofu, mashed
- 1 10 -ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, zucchini, onion and celery and saute until soft but not brown, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, oregano, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, prepare the shells: Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 8 minutes; drain. Mix the tofu, spinach, cottage cheese, parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, the egg and garlic in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1 cup of the sauce in the dish. Stuff the cheese mixture into the shells and place in the baking dish, open-side up. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Photograph by Ngoc Minh Ngo
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