Taking Comfort Food to a Whole New Level!
Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Fresh Ricotta Cheese, Smoked Mozzarella, Roasted Pumpkin, Fresh Spinach, Shiitake Mushrooms in a Creamy Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce. Delizioso!
I visited Arthur Avenue in “da” Bronx last week ~ a food loving Italian section with real charm and truly very authentic. Sure tourists are abound; four lovely ladies from Venice were sitting next to us at the indoor take-out /restaurant Mike’s deli.
I was so inspired with the vast array of locals selling imports from Italy – cheeses, pastas, pastry, meats, produce and everything else you can imagine. Generations of Italian families have given the area a special small-town character unique for an urban setting.
Immediately I knew I would stuff pasta shells eyeing the tall bags of Lumaconi Giganti Pasta Shells – a cool “snail shape.” Italian bronze- cut dried pastas are unparalleled!
In the sprawling section of produce in the Arthur Avenue Marketplace I was thrilled to find big, fat green spinach bunches, 2 for $3!! It has been so difficult to find good spinach these days… ever tried to sauté baby spinach? – yuck! I found Fresh Ricotta Cheese at Teitel Brothers Grocery, their own imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dried Sicilian Oregano on the Stem and the most outstanding Smoked Mozzarella – that was soft and creamy.
I did buy an organic Sugar Pumpkin at Whole Foods on my trip home.
For the recipe – there are a few steps to follow. All worth your effort!
- Make the Creamy Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce and set aside.
- Cook the pumpkin, sliced in the oven (the skins will easily peel off!)
- Cook the Pasta Shells al dente (they will cook further in the oven stuffed.
- Make the filling.
- Stuff the Shells – add on top of the sauce in the pan, cover and bake.
The perfect recipe for a weeknight meal accompanied with a leafy salad or an interesting side dish for your Thanksgiving Buffet!