This dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer for up to two months! No need to thaw, simply bake the frozen dish in the oven! Mix it up with different cheeses or herbs in the filling. Serve with some garlic bread and a fresh green salad for a complete and meatless meal.
1 pound jumbo shell pasta (about 40 shells)
1 (12-oz) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-oz) carton ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 cups Marinara sauce (I make my own, you can use canned also)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Coat two 13×9 baking dishes with cooking spray, set aside.
4. Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor. Process until smooth. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese mixture, asiago, parmesan, chives, parsley, salt, black pepper, and spinach. Stir well to combine.
5. Spoon entire cheese mixture into a zip-top bag. Snip off one corner of the bag and pipe filling into the cooked pasta shells. Place into the prepared baking dishes filling side up. Pour sauce over top (about 3 cups for each baking dish). Sprinkle with mozzarella (about 1/2 cup for each baking dish).
6. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
7. If freezing casserole, do not bake. Prepare through step 5. Cover with plastic wrap (press to remove as much air as possible) and then wrap with foil. Store for up to 2 months. To prepare frozen casserole, remove plastic wrap, re-cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Yield: 2 casseroles with 5 servings in each (470 calories, 15.7 g total fat, 8.8 g saturated fat, 28.3 g protein, 52.7 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g fiber, 47 mg cholesterol)
Cooking Light, March 2003