Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cheese and Tofu Stuffed Shells

I am not a tofu fan normally, but this is one of those recipes in which you can't tell tofu is present. It's very tasty, much the same as any other cheese-stuffed baked pasta recipe. It's also fairly light in calories and filling at the same time, no doubt because tofu replaces extra cheese. I assembled this dish earlier in the day and just popped it in the oven before dinner. I've included suggestions for short cuts and doubling the recipe at the bottom.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 11th edition

  • 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot (1 small)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion (1 small)
  • 8 ounces tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 beaten egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
  • 1/2 of a 6-ounce can tomato paste (1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (optional)
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a saucepan cook carrot and green onion in a small amount of water till tender; drain.
  2. For filling, in a medium bowl mash tofu with a fork. Stir in the carrot-onion mixture, ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the egg white, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. For sauce, in a saucepan combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, sugar, garlic powder, and, if desired, fennel seed. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, unocvered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Stuff each cooked shell with about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling. Place shells in an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish. pour sauce over shells. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven about 25 minutes or till heated through. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. If desired, serve with Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings.

To double:
Since tofu seems to come in 12-ounce or 14-ounce packages, if you double this, I would suggest simply using whatever size tofu package you find and making up the difference with ricotta cheese. Jumbo shells come at least 24 to a box, so doubling would be no trouble there.

Taking short cuts:
Substitute a jar of spaghetti sauce for the sauce ingredients. Buy pre-shredded cheese. Skip the carrot/green onion step.

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