Sigh, summer's over. The days are getting shorter, making it so dark in the morning when I awake. Move over salad, this season calls for a heartier dinner. Pasta is what I have in mind, and this recipe in particular, because I love the healthy vegetables tucked into the pasta. Add some gooey cheese and a light tomato sauce...perfect! As an added bonus, you can assemble this ahead of time, then pop it in the oven when you're ready to bake.
- 1 lb. rainbow or swiss chard, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove the excess liquid
- 2 scallions, sliced crosswise
- 3/4 cup Fontina cheese, grated
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 12 oz. box of jumbo dried pasta shells
- 5 cups of tomato sauce (bottled or homemade)
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil (plus more for the pan)
- 1 T. unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper
- Rinse the chard in cold water. With the water still clinging to the leaves, place into a large shallow saute pan, cover, and set over medium heat. Cook, for 10-15 minutes, or until wilted and tender. Transfer to a colander, and let it cool. Squeeze out the excess water, and finely chop Set aside.
- Wipe the skillet clean and add the oil and butter. Place over medium low heat and when the butter has melted, add the garlic and scallions. Cook until the scallions are softened, but not browned. Stir in the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the chard and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.
When the mixture is completely cooled, fold in the Fontina, Mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and then the beaten eggs.
Note: You can cover and refrigerate this mixture until you are ready to fill the pasta.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling water until not quite al dente. They will continue cooking in the oven. Drain the shells in a colander and transfer them to a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 or 2 T. of olive oil to prevent them from sticking together and cool slightly.
- Prepare a 10 x 15 baking dish by lightly coating the bottom with olive oil. Spoon 1-1/2 cups of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the dish. Fill each shell with 2 T. of the filling and arrange them, filling side up in the dish. Spread more sauce over the shells - enough to cover, but not drown the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
Note: You can cover and refrigerate at this point until you are ready to bake.
- Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is browned. Serve immediately.
- Recipe by Domenica Marchetti from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy
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