Pasta, Risotto and You

By Nancy Caivano


Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Shells
with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Serves 6



For vegetables:
Cooking Spray
2 red bell peppers, stems,
   seeds and membranes removed, diced
2-1/2 lb zucchini, washed well and diced
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

For sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped (or 2 tsp. Jar chopped garlic)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Red pepper flakes
   (add more or less depending on how hot you want it)
3 hot Italian cherry peppers, chopped
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 cans tomato purée
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chiffonade basil
Salt and Pepper

1-lb pkg. jumbo pasta shells

For remaining filling:
2 (15-oz) containers ricotta cheese
14-oz soft, fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
1/2 cup basil, julienne
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1-1/2 cups grated provolone cheese
1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parsley, chopped



Begin vegetables:
Heat oven to 450 degrees F, and spray a large baking pan with cooking spray. Combine red pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, carrots and celery in a large bowl. Add vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil and toss well. Place in baking pan and roast until vegetables are well-browned and tender, about 30 minutes.

Prepare sauce:
In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Add red pepper flakes and cherry peppers. Sauté for 10 minutes more. Add tomatoes, purée and wine. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add herbs. Simmer 20 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Cook pasta shells in a large pot of boiling, salted water until halfway done according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water until cool to stop cooking. Drain thoroughly.

Place roasted vegetables in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. In a large bowl mix ricotta, goat cheese, basil, eggs, and 1 cup each Romano, provolone and mozzarella. Combine very well. Add roasted vegetables and combine well, and season with salt and pepper. Fill shells with filling right to top of shell, even a touch over the top. You can use a large spoon or a pastry bag with no tip to fill shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking pan well with cooking spray. Spread about 1 cup sauce over bottom of pan. Place shells in a single layer in pan. Top shells with remaining sauce, remaining cheeses and parsley. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes to set before serving.

You can change the combination of cheeses and vegetables to suit your tastes. Pretty much anything works well here. You can make this ahead of time, and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or for about 2 weeks frozen. To freeze, cover with both plastic wrap and foil. To bake, remove plastic wrap, keep covered with foil and bake in a low oven (250 degree F) until a knife goes through one of the shells easily. Then bake as above.


Pasta Risotto and You


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This page created December 2000

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