Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stuffing

I am really excited about the dinner that we had last night. Stuffed pastas were a regular part of my life when I was growing up. My mom made stuffed shells and whenever I went out to an Italian restaurant, I always ordered manicotti.

Now that cheese is off the dinner menu, this obviously a little more of a challenge. Clearly, however, I am up for it.

I decided to take on Angela's Jumbo Stuffed Shells recipe. All of the recipes on Oh She Glows are vegan, so that means no cheese. How do you create a stuffed pasta with out cheese? Tofu!

Don't be scared!

Once I had identified a recipe, I was ready to move on. At this point, I went to Whole Foods to search the pasta aisle for large shells or manicotti and I remembered something. I've been here before… and have not been able to find a stuffing pasta in DC.

Can you believe it? People apparently aren't into stuffed pastas in this city- other than ravioli. Whole Foods carries pasta made out of whole wheat, corn, quinoa, rice, spelt and who knows what else, but nothing that you can stuff.

Not to be discouraged, I made my own.

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I used my pasta maker, followed a basic dough recipe and just rolled out sheets, like I would if I were making ravioli. Then you place each sheet of dough into boiling water for about 15 seconds (until it floats), remove it and put it in an ice bath before laying it on some towels to dry.

It was a little extra work, and I do hope to find some store-bought pasta for another time, but this worked well. I love making fresh pasta linguine, but if I'm wrapping everything up in a casserole I just prefer to buy it! If necessary, I think I will just use lasagna noodles and layer next time.

The tofu filling is a combination of pressed tofu, onions, garlic, basil, parsley, spinach, nutritional yeast, lemon, salt and pepper. You process the tofu and then stir in the rest. Honestly, it was a pretty decent substitute for ricotta. I would never confuse the two, but for a dairy-free (and healthy!) upgrade, I am all about the tofu now.

So, I rolled up spoonfuls of the filling and ended up creating a sort of casserole dish because I layered my pasta two-deep.

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I actually made this Monday night and then covered it and stuck it in the fridge so we could heat up dinner quickly after the Junior League meeting I had last night.
Worked like a charm.

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Doesn't that look delicious? You could also easily stir a little Daiya (dairy-free/ vegan) cheese into the tofu and layer some on top, but I was keeping this unprocessed so I wanted to avoid that.

I am so, so pleased with this recipe! Looking forward to leftovers at lunch today :)

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