Monday, July 22, 2013

Ricotta Shells with Homemade Marinara

Ricotta Shells with Homemade Marinara
Recipe inspired by Real Simple recipe
Makes 4 Servings

8 oz. jumbo pasta shells (28 shells)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
6 tbsp fresh basil leaves, diced; divided
4 tsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions (make an extra shell or two in case they stick!). Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Crush tomatoes in hands (be careful - wear an apron!) and ad them and their juices to the pan. Season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes. Mix together ricotta with 4 tbsp basil.. Stuff each shell with about 1 tbsp ricotta mixture. Place 7 stuffed shells on each plate/bowl/etc.. Top with 1/4 of the tomato sauce, 1 tsp of the parmesan cheese and a portion of the remaining basil. Top with additional salt or pepper as needed/to taste.

Nutritional Information: 440 calories, 56 carbs, 16 fat grams and 17 protein grams.

Review: We just loved this. I was at first very nervous about using so much olive oil, but it really made the sauce, which is the star of this recipe, as is the fresh basil. This was wonderful and reheated very well. For those who want less fat grams:  I feel certain that 3 tbsp would taste the same! For those who want to sub those fat grams out for something else: If you took out the tbsp of olive oil, I feel like you could replace it with light ricotta cheese (vs. fat-free) and that would be great.For those who hate stuffing shells: You can use a short pasta  (like rotini or farfalle) and just drop in balls of ricotta/basil vs. stuffing the shells - would be quicker!

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