Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More Pumpkin: Stuffed Shells

Okay, so I'm more than a little bit obsessed with pumpkin right now (or all the time).  I was searching for a recipe for stuffed chicken breasts, but Google apparently likes to steer me away from healthy things because a stuffed shell recipe came up first.  The great thing about pumpkin is that I can somehow justify eating all this cheesy goodness because, hey, there's a lot of vegetable in here!  Plus they're pretty:

I told myself I'd never be one of those girls who posts pictures of all of their culinary achievements on facebook.  These just looked too exciting not to share.  But once I opened that door I couldn't stop.  Now I take pictures of all the new foods I make...maybe it's to prove to myself that I'm not a terrible cook after all.  Or maybe it's to validate the time spent on all of my days off.

I based these loosely off of some recipe that I apparently forgot to save.  If I ever find the original author I'll be sure to credit them here :)

1 box jumbo shells
1 small container ricotta cheese (I have no idea what size it was. maybe 8oz? 12 oz? I just bought the smallest one)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used the Kraft 5-cheese Italian blend, but plain mozzarella or parmesan would be fine too)
1 handful fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp sage
1/2-1 tsp basil
1-2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 cup pasta sauce
parsley and grated parmesan (optional, for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350.
Cook shells according to package directions.
Combine ricotta, pumpkin puree, shredded cheese, milk, and spinach.  Mix well.  Add spices, plus salt and pepper to taste. (I finally got myself a black pepper grinder so I like to use that bad boy as much as possible.)
Fill each shell with that cheesy, pumpkiny goodness.
After arranging shells in the baking pan, drizzle shells with pasta sauce.  Since there is already a lot of vegetable (aka pumpkin) I decided that I needed less sauce than I would normally use with traditional stuffed shells.
Sprinkle with parsley and grated parmesan, if desired.  I find that adding parsley to just about any Italian-inspired dish makes it look way more classy.
Cover and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Because there's no egg in this recipe, you really only need to heat them til they're warm, so if they start to dry out go ahead and take them out of the oven.

Bon appetit!

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