Welcome to Romeo's Food Lady! This blog contains recipes for delicious vegetarian food. Most of these are not recipes authored by me. Rather, this is just a compilation of great veggie food I've found from all over the place, usually tweaked just a little. It's intended to be a reference FOR ME so I don't lose great food I've found nor the changes I've made to suit my tastes, but I'm happy for you to use it, too. After more than 25 years of being a vegetarian, I know what tastes good.
Romeo's Food Lady is named after my friend and cat, Romeo. Romeo is not a vegetarian, but his Food Lady is!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I know this recipe from Food Network magazine doesn't sound right.  Pumpkin?!  But the truth is this is a great way to sneak another vegetable into your diet, because it tastes great and looks beautiful.  Give it a try!
I actually made my own ricotta using another Food Network recipe, which I'll include here, but store-bought is fine.  The ricotta recipe said it would make 3 cups, but it made about 1.5 cups, so this cheese-making process, which is new to me, may be unpredictable.  It was quite easy, though, and it allowed me to use milk from a local farmer that literally names all his cows.

24 jumbo pasta shells
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2.5 cups (22 oz.) ricotta cheese (recipe below, or choose a nice organic brand, like Organic Valley)
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 c. plus 2 T. (2.5 oz.) Parmesan or pecorino Romano, grated
1 large egg white
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 T. fresh sage, finely chopped (optional - I used about 1/2 t. dried sage, because I wasn't sure if I would like the taste.  Turns out at this amount, I couldn't even taste it.)
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground pepper
1 26-oz. jar tomato pasta sauce

Cook the pasta shells according to package instructions, then drain.  Drizzle with the oil, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, stir together the ricotta, pumpkin, 3/4 c. Parmesan or pecorino Romano, egg white, garlic, basil, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread all the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.  Fill each pasta shell with about 3 T. ricotta mixture and arrange in baking dish.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle the shells with the remaining 2 T. Parmesan or pecorino Romano, and bake for 15 minutes more.

Serves 6 - 8.

Homemade Ricotta
1/2 gallon whole milk
1 t. kosher salt
3 T. lemon juice

Line a metal colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, then set the colander in a bowl.

In a large pot over high heat, bring the milk and salt to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add lemon juice, and stir until curds form (1 - 2 minutes).

Using a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer curds to colander.  Let drain 1 - 2 minutes.

Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  (This is supposed to make 3 cups, but I got about 1.5 cups.)

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