Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
marinara sauce, oat creamer, nutmeg
by priti malhotra
Priti learned to cook under the tutelage of her mother, an excellent cook, who was ahead of her times, experimenting with recipes and ingredients that were not staple in Indian kitchens at that time. For example, she made taco shells from scratch, when very few around knew what a “taco” was. Priti, through osmosis, absorbed her passion for creativity and stellar food presentation.
Now, Priti creates easy to follow, non-fussy, vegetarian and plant based recipes, melding the traditional with the new. She is always on a look out to try new ingredients, oils, spices, and to create something different, adapt and merge together food from different cultures. When she entertains friends, she likes to display, on her kitchen island, attractive bite-sized foods that go well with wine. Priti also enjoys exploring off-the-grid bars, wineries, coffee shops and restaurants and soak in everything that her beautiful town and state has to offer.
Creamy, warm and hearty pasta that everyone will love.
Vegan Ricotta (@frommybowl):
1/2 Organic Firm Tofu, pressed
10 Cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 cloves Garlic
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 tsp Lemon zest
1/2 tsp Salt
Black Pepper, to taste
1 tsp Italian Seasoning or other spices of choice
12 large pasta shells
2 cups frozen chopped spinach
A jar of your favorite red pasta sauce
Vegan Parmesan (I used Violife Parmesan from Whole Foods)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup oat creamer
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella (optional)
Salt and Pepper
To make the Vegan Ricotta, combine all the ingredients listed under “Vegan Ricotta” in a food processor. This can be made a day in advance, if you like.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring water in a large container to a boil. Season with salt. Add the large pasta shells and cook according to the package instructions. The pasta shells should be al-dente in about 7 minutes. Reserve 1/2 a cup of pasta water and drain the shells.
Heat a pan over and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the frozen spinach. Cook on medium heat until the spinach is well cooked. Add a teaspoon of salt. Remove from heat. Add the ricotta and mix well. Sprinkle in some nutmeg and crushed pepper flakes. Season with black pepper, and a little more salt if needed. Add a little bit of reserved pasta water to keep it from drying.
In a large baking dish, pour about 1-2 cups of the red sauce to cover the base of the dish. Pour the creamer in streaks over the sauce. When shells are cool enough to handle, scoop a large tablespoon of the spinach-ricotta mixture and fill it in the shells. Arrange them on the baking dish. Drizzle a teaspoon of sauce on each of the shells. Sprinkle in the mozzarella cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and put it in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for another minute. Take it out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes, and sprinkle with your favorite parmesan. Add in a little olive oil and chopped parsley. Serve hot.