My oh my – Cooking Light is two for two in my books so far. I warned you guys that I was really impressed by the magazine, and it only took me a few days to whip-up another recipe that went straight to the front of the “must-blog” list – it was truly that delicious.
I have had these jumbo pasta shells in my cupboard since last year…I always wanted to make stuffed shells, but we aren’t the biggest pasta fans (read: I am not and I’ve gotten CH on board with spaghetti squash as a replacement!) so something always trumped one of the recipes I came across for stuffed shells…until this one.
This recipe was truly one of the most delicious pasta dishes I’ve made and I love that it has shrimp. The creamy texture of the filling is also very welcomed in my books. But the best part of this recipe is that it is”light” especially when it comes to baked pasta dishes. Another slam-dunk for CL. CH and my friend who was my recipe tester (thanks CA!) both couldn’t believe how delicious this dish was, especially given it’s very friendly calorie count (see below!).
It is definitely a make-again, and leftovers were well received too (it reheated beautifully for a pasta dish).
If you like shrimp, creamy filled, baked pasta with a beautiful tomato sauce, definitely give this one a try.
Yield: 5 servings (4 shells each)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
- 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
- 1.5 TBSP olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, or 4 shallots, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, grated or minced finely
- 0.5 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 0.25 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 0.5 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (I used homemade), divided
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 400°.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta shells for 7 minutes or until almost al dente. Do not add any salt or oil to the water. Drain well and set-aside.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add the onion or shallots to the pan and saute for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for an additional minute.
Add the cream cheese, milk, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until cream cheese melts, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set-aside for a few minutes.
Once shrimp have been de-veined, peeled and coarsely chopped, be sure to dry them off with paper towel. Place shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the corn starch – toss well to coat evenly. Add the shrimp to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine.
Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish and arrange empty shells in the pan (makes clean-up a little easier to do it this way!).
Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells – about a tablespoon in each shell. Once all of the shells are filled, top them evenly with the remaining 2 cups of marinara sauce. Sprinkle shells evenly with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and cover with tinfoil.
Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, remove tinfoil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until shrimp are done (they will be opaque).
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
- Calories: 496
- Fat: 16g
- Saturated fat: 6.2g
- Monounsaturated fat: 5.3g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
- Protein: 31.1g
- Carbohydrate: 85.6g
- Fiber: 1.6g
- Cholesterol: 163mg
- Iron: 4.1mg
- Sodium: 575mg
- Calcium: 208mg