August 01, 2013
Ratatouille Stuffed Shells
This dish is pretty much diametrically opposite to the dish I shared with you on Monday. It's a little time-consuming with just the tiniest kiss of fussy, but it turned out so well, and I was so proud of myself for thinking it up -- I had to share it here. It's worth the effort in every way!
At least half of what I love about this is the roastiness of the veggies. I cooked them in a hot oven until they began to toast a bit on the edges, lending great depth of flavor. Smother it all in some melty cheese, and -- well, I don't think I need to say much more.
As with my slow cooker version of ratatouille, I have substituted yellow summer squash for eggplant. If you love eggplant, I imagine you could use that here in the same manner as I've used the yellow squash to make it a true ratatouille. It's a fun dish to make with the whole family. Kids will love stuffing the shells and sprinkling the cheese.
Ratatouille Stuffed Shells
1 1/2 c. tomato puree (I use Pomi brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme or summer savory
2 medium zucchini, split in half lengthwise and sliced in 1/2' pieces
1 medium yellow squash, diced in 1/2' pieces
1 bell pepper -- red or orange -- seeded and diced
salt and pepper
12 jumbo pasta shells
1 c. ricotta cheese
parsley (fresh chopped or dried -- I use dried)
1 c. + 1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 400º. In a greased 9x13" pan, combine garlic, onion, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread out in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Lay out diced zucchini, yellow squash, and pepper on top of the tomato mixture, but do not combine. Drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about an hour, or until veggies are softened and beginning to brown slightly.
Meanwhile, boil some water and cook the shells for about 9 minutes, or until not quite done through (you want them to finish cooking in the oven -- that way they won't be too floppy and overcooked). Drain and drizzle with a little oil to keep them from sticking.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, parsely, 1/4 c. mozarella, and 1 Tbsp. parmesan. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scoop a tablespoon or so of ricotta filling into each pasta shell.
When vegetables are ready, stir to combine veggies with tomato sauce on the bottom. Nestle filled shells into the vegetable mixture, scooping veggies and sauce over the shells as needed to make space. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Bake again for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.