Creamy mushroom and tofu stuffed pasta shells
I found these pasta shells in the delicatessen at Isaura’s Fine Foods and Delicatessen. I liked the shape but wasn’t sure what I wanted to make of them so they have been in my cupboard for a couple of weeks.
I wanted to fill the shells and had various ideas. One was a classic filling of ricotta cheese and spinach but I didn’t want full fat cheese. The pasta shells were quite large and to fill them with full fat cheese would make for a very rich and calorie laden dinner. In the end I chose a filling with a mix of low fat cheese, silken tofu, mushrooms and vegetables. I was quite sure that it would work as I needed a filling that wouldn’t get too runny when cooked and that would highlight the flavours.
I needed a sauce to cook the pasta shells. If I had ordered ravioli with ricotta and spinach filling it would normally be served with melted, sage infused butter. There was no way I wanted to add butter, this was supposed to be a healthy dish and in the end I went for a tomato sauce with herbs and garlic. The flavour combination is classic but with a slightly healthy angle, it is January after all.
It was all cooked with the help of my favourite kitchen tool, the blender. I only needed to cook for two and I didn’t know what to cook the pasta in as I wanted the shells to be standing up. My usual dishes were too shallow and too large. After some rummaging in the cupboards I finally came across a perfect sized dish, my slightly smaller non stick cake tin.
Stuffed Pasta shells
preparation time 20 minutes
cooking time 50 minutes
oven 180C or 360F
- 22 pasta shells
- 125 gr or 4.4 oz garlic and herb low fat soft cheese
- 150 gr or 5.2 oz silken tofu
- 100 gr or 3.5 oz kale
- 150 gr or 5.2 oz mushrooms
- 1 celery stalk
- 1/2 tsp crushed pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
Rinse the kale, place in cold water in a pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling remove the kale and place in cold water. Brush and slice the mushrooms, place them in a pan without anything else and turn the heat on. Cook until the liquid in the mushrooms is gone, add salt and chilli flakes. Let cool slightly.
Chop the celery stalk, squeeze the water out of the kale and place in the blender with the tofu, cheese, and parsley. Last add the slightly cooled mushrooms. Blend but not until smooth, leave some texture. Taste with salt. I think tofu needs salt to come to life as it doesn’t really have any flavour on it’s own.
Stuff the uncooked pasta shells.
Before stuffing the shells make the tomato sauce. Give the blender a rinse for the tomato sauce.
preparation time 5 minutes
cooking time 10 minutes
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 dl cashew nuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp parsley stalks
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup grated low fat cheddar
Chop the celery stalks, the peeled onion, the sugar and garlic cloves rough. Place in the blender with the tomatoes, add 2 tbsp water, the chopped rosemary and parsley, and the cashew nuts. Blend but again not until smooth, keep some texture.
When the tomato is simmering taste, add the mirin and then salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce is ready pour it over the stuffed pasta shells and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the pasta shells are cooked through.
Serve with chopped parsley and dinner is ready.
I didn’t miss fish or meat and I am glad I didn’t use full fat cheese as the dish was rich anyway. I liked the creaminess of the filling and if I hadn’t cooked it I would never have guessed it was low fat cheese and tofu. It wasn’t a quick dish by any means but well worth doing, either stuffing pasta shells or layered as a lasagna.
I have enter this recipe to the Big Recipe Competition, hosted by The Health Bay, promoting and selling healthy and delicious foods.