Latin american pasta shells marinara

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
8 ounces Jumbo size pasta shells; (you will need 16
; shells)
2 pounds Roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon Light olive oil with a dash of toasted
; sesame oil
⅓ cup Diced onion
⅓ cup Diced carrots
⅓ cup Diced celery
2 Cloves garlic; bashed, peeled and
; chopped
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground sea salt
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black peppercorns
3 3 inch sprig fresh oregano
2 cups Cooked small white beans
1 teaspoon Light olive oil with a dash of toasted
; sesame oil
4 ounces Onion; peeled and chopped
4 ounces Fresh shiitake mushrooms; stems removed,
; finely chopped
Reserved marinara vegetables
¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon Ground cumin
1 tablespoon Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pounds Fresh spinach; washed and stems
; removed
½ teaspoon Ground cardamom
1 pinch Freshly ground sea salt
2 tablespoons Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Arrowroot mixed with 2tsp water; (slurry)
4 teaspoons Freshly grated parmesan cheese




Cook the pasta shells according to package directions until barely al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Marinara sauce: bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Make a small incision with a knife in the stem end of each tomato and blanch them for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Slip the skins off, place the tomatoes in a large sealable plastic bag and press down until they squash somewhat, do not mash completely. Pour the oil into a medium saucepan on medium heat and fry the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, pressing the vegetables to extract the juices but do not crush. This should yield 2 cups of sauce.

Reserve the pressed vegetables left in the sieve to use in the filling.

The filling: puree 1½ cups of the beans in a food processor until creamy. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat and fry the onion and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed beans, reserved vegetables from the marinara sauce and the remaining ½ cup of whole beans. Season with the cayenne, cumin and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Assemble the shells, preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the marinara sauce into a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Fill each cooked pasta shell with a heaped teaspoonful of the filling and line them up in the pan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

The vegetables: just before the shells are finished baking, toss the spinach with the cardamom and salt. Pour the lemon juice into a high sided skillet on medium heat and cook the spinach until just limp.

To serve, arrange a bed of spinach on each serving plate and top with 4 shells. Pour the sauce from baking dish into a small saucepan, stir in the slurry, bring to a boil and stir until thickened and clear - about 30 seconds. Pour the thickened sauce over the pasta and spinach. Garnish with a sprinkling of the parmesan cheese.

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