Have you ever experienced deja vu, where you find out about a new product or buy a new item and suddenly it seems like that thing is everywhere? And it was probably already everywhere, you simply were not tuned into it? Well, those thoughts and feelings are exactly what is going on with me and cottage cheese lately.
Last weekend I had a cooking extravaganza in my kitchen. Which lead to a very happy tummy all week long. One item I made was stuffed shells. I was apprehensive since I was going to use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, and thought the flavor would be off. Since then I’ve read up on it and found they are basically very similar cheeses. The difference? When cheese is seperated, the whey is ricotta while the curds are cottage. Interesting huh? They can be interchanged easily, but it is texture one should be cautious of if important in presentation. Cottage results in a runnier recipe and since I like my Italian dishes gooey, I had nothing to fear. FYI, for those wondering, I am pleased to report, I did not taste a difference at all.
What you will need:
- 1container (16 oz.) Cottage Cheese
- 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
- 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 15-20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked, drained
- 1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Mix cottage cheese, spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Spoon into shells.
- Spread half the sauce into 13×9-inch baking dish. Add filled shells; top with remaining sauce.
- Cover and bake for 25 min. or until heated through.
- Top with remaining mozzarella; bake, uncovered, 2 min. or until melted.
I can’t attest to how well these freeze because I ate them before I needed to learn! Ha! OK really I traded 4 with my Mom for something she made. My total was 15 shells, because as you can see I stuff ‘em to the brim. If you’re not as generous with your filling you will need closer to 20 shells.
Do you you like the orange Rachel Ray spatula my sister gave me for Christmas? I think it brings out the green of the spinach.
If you need more kick in your version, try adding Italian species to the stuffing.
If you can’t decide between cottage and ricotta, why not do a mix? I say go with whatever is on sale that week.
My cottage cheese was also 4% milk fat if anyone is curious. When it comes to milk and diary products I go all out, oddly I have found this is easier on my stomach than the lower fat or skim versions.
Oh, and my pasta sauce? Thick and full of “garden veggies” feel free to cut up your own veggies for even more pizazz and added flavor.