C told me that tonight – for the first time – I’d made real Italian food.
“Um,” I replied, “What about my lasagna?”
“Nope. That’s too fancy.”
“Um, no. You don’t make REAL Italian Meatballs.”
“Well, I make my own homemade PASTA. THAT is real italian food.”
“Yeaaaaaah, I suppose so, but all your recipes are, I dunno, frou-frou. THIS (pointing at his plate), THIS is old school ITALIAN food.”
And it was weight watchers friendly.
Yes. Feel free to clap.
Guess what: serving sizes are HUGE too: two cups. TWO. Feel free to have just one if you’d like, though. I left myself the option of having 1/2 a serving and a portion of bread if I wanted, but then changed my mind and ate the second cup anyway. It was goooooood.
PLEASE NOTE: I used 2 cups of jarred sauce instead of the tomato mix she suggests. This upped the points by 1 point+ per serving, but lowered my fridge-contents. I thought that a fair trade.
PLEASE NOTE NUMERO DOS: The recipe calls for Part-Skim Ricotta and Part-Skim Mozzarella. I had neither on hand. I tallied up the points using sauce instead of tomatoes and using the lo-cal versions of the cheese. Using lo-cal + jarred sauce = 13 points+ for TWO cups. Using the full-fat version + jarred sauce = 16 points+.
Have I bored you enough yet?
Read on dear friends!
Stuffed Shells that turned into a version of Baked Ziti adapted from Secrets of a Skinny Chef
1 12-ounce box of pasta shells **I used one 16oz. box of large shells.
2 cups Ricotta cheese
2 cups Baby Spinach, chopped **I used my spinach in my side dish, subbing in 1/4 cup well chopped parsley instead.
2 Egg Whites
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 28-ouce can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 teaspoon Olive oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 cups Jarred Marinara Sauce *I used Rao’s. Delicious.
2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1- Oven to 350ºF.
2- Whack a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Undercook your pasta by 5 minutes, then drain.
3- While the pasta is cooking, dump your ricotta, spinach or parsley, egg whites, and parmesan into a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
4- If you’re using the tomato melange you’ll place the tomatoes + juices, olive oil, garlic and balsamic in a bowl and either blend with an immersion blender (less messy) or squish with your hands (more messy) until a thick sauce forms. If you’re using jarred sauce…well, open it now.
5- If you’re using those HUGE ASS shells, you’ll fill them all with the ricotta mix now. If you misread the recipe and bought Large Shells instead of the ones the size of a child’s head, you’ll mix them up into the ricotta mix now.
6- If you’re using MEAL SIZED Shells, and they’re all filled and laid out on a casserole dish, now is when you’d drizzle them with your sauce.
Since I had Large Shells *sigh* I mixed the sauce right into the shell/ricotta bowl until well combined. Pour out into a casserole dish.
Top with shredded mozzarella.
7- Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is all melted and the filling is hot.
8- Turn the broiler on and move the pasta up to the top rack. Let it get all crunchy on top and then serve to a happy family.
Oh – and I served this with a side of spinach, mushrooms and shallots. They were divine.