Monday, September 10, 2007

Recipe Review: Baked Stuffed Shells

This past weekend I spent a while poring through recipes from and to find some that fit the 40-30-30 lifestyle. (I haven't found many cookbooks targeted toward 40-30-30, so I figured I'd just assemble my own collection of recipes.

The first one I've tackled is Cooking Light's Baked Stuffed Shells. A few things I'd note about this recipe:

1. I'm allergic to bell peppers, and the recipe calls for two to be used in the sauce. I substituted zucchini, which was decent, but next time I'd probably do spinach and mushrooms. The sauce is very chunky, and at least spinach would make it slightly less so.

2. Reduced-fat tofu can be hard to find, but I tracked it down at Whole Foods. Low-fat ricotta isn't a great substitute because the two products have very different nutritional profiles. I thought the filling tasted fairly authentic with the tofu.

3. I couldn't find turkey breakfast sausages (at least, none that were raw), so I used Italian-style turkey sausage. The downside of using sausage is that it is in big chunks that don't break down easily. I couldn't taste much spice in the sausages, so next time I'd simply substitute ground turkey.

4. The recipe calls for only 18 pasta shells. I'm glad I cooked 3 or 4 extra, because I used them all (and could have still filled more). Next time, I'd cook 25 shells just to be safe.

I thought this was a solid recipe, and one I'd definitely make again. It serves 6, so if you're single like me, or if there are just two of you, you'll have plenty of leftovers. Some reviewers on Cooking Light's sight complain about it taking too long to cook. I made the sauce and filling, cooked the pasta and assembled the shells ahead of time, then baked it later in the day. Also, if you follow the instructions in order, it will probably take longer. I'd recommend starting the sauce and the pasta at the same time, then making the filling while the sauce simmers for 25 minutes. You'll save some time if you multitask.

No comments: