You guys, this bun in the oven is just about fully baked! I’m ready to POP. Well, as I write this I am. Who knows by the time this post is read by all of you, my little one could have already arrived. I’m at the point where I am planning posts ahead. This way you aren’t left with no Behind the Plates while I take some time to enjoy become a new Mom! That said, I’m also creating recipe that are easy to freeze so we have simple meals that my husband and I can just pop in the oven once Baby Raho arrives. Enter today’s recipe for Pasta Primavera Stuffed Shells.
I noticed that a lot of the freezer meal ideas I was seeing involved marinara sauces. While I LOVE me some red sauce, I knew we would quickly get bored of it if we are eating it every night after the baby arrives. That lead me to some creative recipe development thinking. And voila, Pasta Primavera Stuffed Shells was the product of that. You get your vegetables packed in and a creamy, lemony (making it a word here…don’t judge) sauce that bubbles up when baked to round out the dish. We ate half the meal when I made it and I’ve packed up the other half and it’s in the freezer for a few weeks down the road.
This recipe isn’t just great for a freezer meal either. Let me give you some timely suggestions to use this family friendly dish.
- Lent Fridays – Can’t eat meat? Well this dish is the perfect meal to make for a date night, family dinner or friends gathering during the Lenten season.
- Easter Sunday- Need a potluck idea, an addition to your lamb or ham main courses, OR a vegetarian option? This is your go-to choice right here!
- Meat-Free Mondays – Did you know this is a big tend out there? Many families try to skip out on meat one meal a week. (It happens to often be on Mondays -hence the slogan name) Here’s next week’s meal idea for you.
…all for the love of the dish
- 1/2 box jumbo shells
- 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan
- 1 lemon and the zest from that lemon
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper for cheese mixture
- 1/2 cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
- 1/2 cup diced zucchini
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 & 1/2 Cups chicken broth
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- Optional -
- additional 1/4 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan to top off before baking
- Fresh or dried basil to finish once fully baked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook shells according to box (or approximately 10 minutes) until al dente.
- Drain and let cool.
- Wash and cut produce.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in sauté pan over medium -high heat.
- Add mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini to the pan and cook until softened (about 3-4 min)
- Add minced garlic and shredded carrots. Cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
- Remove vegetables from heat.
- In a large bowl mix together Ricotta, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan, 1 egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
- Add in vegetables to the cheese mixture and stir well.
- Place cheese mixture aside.
- In a small pot on the stove melt butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in 1 tbsp flour to make a roux. Once thickened add in 1/4 cup white wine and allow to reduce (about 2 minutes). Keep whisking throughout to keep sauce thickened. Pour in chicken broth and juice from one lemon. Stir and bring to a slow simmer. Lastly pour in heavy cream and keep at summer for another 1-2 minutes.
- Lay out shells in a large, deep baking dish. Stuff each with a tbsp of the Ricotta and vegetable mixture. Repeat until all shells are filled.
- Pour sauce over the whole baking sheet. Top off with additional shredded Parmesan if you’d like.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Finish with fresh or dried basil as a garnish (optional) and serve!