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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stuffed Shells with Carrot "Cheese" Sauce

Because... more pasta!

I'm in a rut.  All of my "original" recipe ideas lately revolve around pasta.  Why?  There are so many other options!  Actually, this recipe came from the need to use up a package of tofu that was purchased a few weeks ago but forgotten about.  So really, I was brain-storming tofu recipes, and happened to decide on a pasta dish.  It is what it is.

So I made a tofu ricotta to stuff into pasta shells.  I thought the tofu was missing something, but The Dave (my official taste-tester) decided that this dish was totally blog-worthy.  I was actually much more impressed with the sauce.  I didn't want to go with a traditional tomato sauce, but wasn't quite sure what to do instead.  What happened was a white bean/carrot cheesy-tasting sauce that was out of this world!  I may play around with this recipe again, in an attempt to make a stellar- yet healthy- mac n cheese dish.

I'm not gonna lie- I dirtied a lot of dishes for this.  But it was awfully tasty and worth the messy kitchen, I promise.  But, as a side-note, I had way too many shells.  The box that the pasta came in is long gone- maybe it was a pound?  Anyway, I didn't need that many, nor did I have room for them all in the baking dish.  So maybe look for a smaller box of pasta?  Or only cook half for this recipe.  Sorry I don't have a better answer for that.  You can figure it out.  I have faith.

1 box large pasta shells
Tofu ricotta:
14 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

15 oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 lb carrots cooked
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Set aside for a bit.
Cook pasta according to directions on package.  **If you haven't already cooked the carrots, you can steam them over the pasta.  That's what I did. 
In a large mixing bowl, crumble the pressed tofu.  Add the basil, vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to mix well.
In a blender or food processor, toss in beans, carrots, veg broth, nutritional yeast, olive oil, cornstarch, and salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.
When pasta is done, drain and arrange in baking dish.  Stuff shells with tofu mixture.  Pour sauce over everything, covering every shell.  Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Serve hot.

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