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Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Smoky Marinara

Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
Yield 2 casseroles, 5 servings per dish (serving size: about 4 stuffed shells and about 1/2 cup smoky marinara)
This dish goes straight from the freezer to oven - no thawing required. The fire-roasted tomatoes in the marinara sauce give the dish a subtle smoky flavor. You can also easily vary the filling by adding basil or oregano and a different cheese. (We tried fontina instead of mozzarella and threw in some arugula for a peppery bite.) Make some garlic bread and a green salad and dinner's on.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound jumbo shell pasta (40 shells)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (12-ounce) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 cups Smoky Marinara
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Nutrition Information

  • calories 470
  • caloriesfromfat 30 %
  • fat 15.7 g
  • satfat 8.8 g
  • monofat 4.7 g
  • polyfat 0.9 g
  • protein 28.3 g
  • carbohydrate 52.7 g
  • fiber 5.3 g
  • cholesterol 47 mg
  • iron 3.8 mg
  • sodium 916 mg
  • calcium 508 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°.

  3. Coat 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes with cooking spray; set aside.

  4. Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago, and next 6 ingredients (Asiago through spinach).

  5. Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange half of stuffed shells, seam sides up, in one prepared dish. Pour 3 cups Smoky Marinara over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat procedure with remaining stuffed shells, Smoky Marinara, and mozzarella in remaining prepared dish.

  6. Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

  7. To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

  8. To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover frozen casserole with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the shells are thoroughly heated.