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stuffed shells with peas and asparagus in pesto cream sauce recipe

Written on Saturday, August 20, 2016 | 3:06:00 PM



SERVES : 4–5 (MAKES 20 JUMBO SHELLS)

Ingredients : 
- 12 oz (340 g) jumbo shells (roughly 20 shells)
- PESTO CREAM SAUCE
- 4 cups (920 g) cauliflower florets
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp (20 g) fresh garlic, minced
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (118 ml) low-fat milk
- ½–¾ cup (118–177 ml) water
- ½ cup (125 g) prepared pesto
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup (150 g) spring peas
- 1½ cups (190 g) asparagus, chopped
- ½ large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1½ cups (360 g) ricotta cheese
- Nutmeg, freshly ground
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (55 g) shredded mozzarella
- ¼ cup (45 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preparation Method :
1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shells and cook until just al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2) While the pasta is cooking, steam the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower florets and 4 cups (950 ml) water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and steam for 10–15 minutes until cauliflower is very soft. Alternatively, you can steam the cauliflower in the microwave. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

3) While the cauliflower is cooking, heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook until garlic is soft but not burnt, about 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic, steamed cauliflower, salt, pepper, milk and ½ cup (118 ml) water into a high-powered blender and puree until creamy and smooth. Depending on the power of your blender, you may need to add more water. Once sauce is creamy and smooth, stir in the pesto. Set aside.

4) Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil and shallot in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the peas, asparagus and red bell pepper and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature. Place in a medium bowl along with the ricotta cheese, nutmeg, a pinch each of salt and pepper and shredded mozzarella.

5) Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).

6) Place ½ of the Pesto Cream Sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) pan. Stuff the shells with the vegetable filling and place in the Pesto Cream Sauce. Toss with remaining Pesto Cream Sauce to cover and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

7) Bake for 35 minutes, until top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.




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