Monday, January 31, 2011

Broccoli n' Bacon Stuffed Shells w/ Roasted Tomato Marinara

What you'll need...

1/2 medium sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic
dried or fresh basil
dried or fresh oregano
1 14 oz can diced roasted tomatoes (such a Muir Glen)
Red Wine (fruity, rich flavor)

16 oz low fat cottage cheese
15 oz part-skim ricotta
dried basil (about 3/4 tsp)
Cooked, crisp and crumble bacon (about 5 slices with most of the fat cut off before cooking)
10 oz frozen broccoli florets, thawed and chopped.
1 egg
3/4 C. shredded Asiago (or parmesan)

1 box pasta Shells
extra shredded Asiago for topping

NOTE:  I tell you to make this in a 9x13 dish, but I am cooking for two, so I actually split this between two dishes and freeze one for another time.  To freeze:  Cover in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 2 layers of heavy foil.  To cook from frozen:  Remove plastic (VERY important! lol), replace foil and bake 1 hr, remove foil and base as directed below. 

This may look like a complicated "lots of work" dish, but it really isn't at all.  If you want it to be super easy, you can use a favorite jarred sauce, but it will not have the same taste.  However, IF it's your favorite sauce, then I guess you'll like it! LOL

Set a med-large pot of water to boil, add a drizzle of olive oil so the shells don't stick.  When it begins to boil, drop the shells in 2 at a time, keeping the water at a boiling level.  Stir gently a few times during cooking process.  Allow shells to boil for about 15 minutes.  Once they are done, drain, rinse in cold water and return to pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and stir around to keep them from sticking to one another, cover with lid and set aside until needed.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare sauce.  Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic.  Heat a little olive oil over med heat in a med-large pot, add onion and garlic and stir to coat.  Allow this cook until soft and opaque, stirring occassionally.
While the onions are cooking, lightly drain the can of tomatoes.  Open a bottle of fruity red wine (Merlot is nice).  When the onions are ready, pour in 1/4 to 1/3 C. wine, dump in the tomatoes, sprinkle with dried basil and oregano (use fresh if you have it).  Give a good stir and allow it to simmer while you prepare the stuffing.  You want to simmer out some of the liquid.

Preheat oven to 400.

Process the Ricotta, Cottage Cheese and egg until smooth.  Dump into a bowl and add shredded Asiago, dried basil, chopped broccoli and crumbled bacon; stir.

#4 - you will get goopy hands here...
Lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish with oil.  Place a shell in your left palm, using your thumb, pull it open a bit, using a soup spoon, plop in about 2 Tbspl. of filling.  Set in dish at a slight angle.  Continue until all shells are stuffed...yes, many of them will have tears in them, just do your best.  Once they are all stuffed, spoon marinara sauce over the top and then sprinkle on a little bit of shredded Asiago.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 5-10 more minutes.  Remove from oven, and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Happy Cooking!
Kathy C.


Alicia said...

Oh my gosh, that looks delicious!!! I'm going to have to try that soon!

Missus Wookie said...

looks great - wonder if I can get the huge shells?

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