He doesn't like stuffed shells (or manicotti, or lasagna) because: "You shouldn't have to use a knife to eat pasta." I, however, love stuffed shells and manicotti and lasagna. So when this recipe was posted on Joe's Blog, I was happy because it was a recipe we could both be excited about.
It has chickpeas pureed in the filling, but this is a wonderful thing. You don't taste the chickpeas at all and they blend in with the ricotta as a binder, so it would be a great way to sneak beans or protein into a dish.
As it turns out, he is fine with stuffed shells! (Still not lasagna, but that's a start). It turns out that what he doesn't like is the spinach-ricotta filling! He didn't like this dish either, so now we know. If I try a stuffed-shells recipe that has a 'different' kind of filling, perhaps he will like it. I guess we will try it sometime soon. But for the record, I really, really liked this recipe a lot! I have a ton of leftovers and I plan to eat them! I thought it was really yummy and if everyone had liked it, I would have made it again.
16 ounces dry medium pasta shells
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups marinara sauce, divided
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Before draining, set aside about 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, add chickpeas, ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, onion, egg, salt, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Scoop mixture into a medium bowl. Add spinach and stir until well combined. Add pasta and the reserved cooking liquid - stir until well combined.
Lightly coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom. Spoon the pasta mixture on top and then cover with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and scatter with the mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Continue baking until the cheese has melted, about 10 more minutes.
Yield: 6-8 servings