Meatless Stuffed Pasta Shells

We recently bought and moved into a new house and have been so busy with all of that business that we’ve kind of gotten out of the habit of cooking for ourselves. I had some leftover jumbo pasta shells that were taking up space so I decided to get out of my cooking rut and make something. But what? I looked through my cookbooks but I didn’t have many of the ingredients their recipes called for. But looking through cookbooks and seeing the pictures and the different ways they combine ingredients and flavors is inspiring and even if you don’t have exactly what is called for, you can usually find something in the pantry that will work. That is how this meal was conceived. “I don’t have this, but I have that!”

Meatless Stuffed Pasta Shells

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package of jumbo shells (about 17 shells)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Several garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • Topping:
    • 1/4 C Italian style breadcrumbs
    • 3-4 Tbsp (or more) grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 Tbsp butter
    • 1 Tbsp marjoram (or oregano)

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; just enough water to cover (by 1-inch) the shells. Add the shells and a bit of olive oil or salt to keep them from sticking (not too much salt!)
  2. Meanwhile, add corn and black pepper to a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and fry until the corn becomes a golden brown. Add the garlic, black beans, basil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sour cream. Cook over low heat while the pasta is cooking. Add more seasonings if you like. Salt & Pepper, sage, thyme, more basil… all good additions. Season the sauce to taste

    Filled pasta shells with Parmesan topping, about to go in the oven
  3. Preheat the oven to 475° F and lightly coat 9″x13″ baking dish with cooking spray
  4. While the sauce and pasta are cooking, melt butter in a microwave-safe dish. Add the breadcrumbs and use a fork to evenly combine with the butter. Add the Parmesan cheese and marjoram (or oregano) and mix evenly.
  5. When the pasta is cooked (a little tough is ok as you’ll be putting them in the oven soon) drain it and let it cool a bit until you can touch it. Get a big spoon and fill each shell with the sauce. Place the shells in the prepared baking dish. It’s ok if they touch.
  6. When all the shells are filled sprinkle the Parmesan mixture evenly over the top of all the shells. Put in the oven and bake until the topping has turned a nice golden brown and gotten a little crispy. Serve warm.

Husband also found that he liked to eat these cold, straight out of the fridge, for snacks.

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