Lightened Ricotta Stuffed Shells With Italian Sausage Ragu


12 ounces (dry) jumbo pasta shells (whole wheat if available)
12 ounces turkey Italian sausage (3 links), casing removed
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
14 1/2 ounces stewed tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
1 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut chiffonade


Prepare shells according to package directions minus 2 minutes (the shells will finish in the sauce) and drain. Lay the shells out on foil or a backing sheet so that they don't stick together. Discard any that are broken.
Meanwhile, in a sautee pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausage. Drain any excess fat and add the onion. Continue to cook until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add water, stewed tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil and egg whites.
Spay a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with non stick. Fill shells with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture each and place in a tight single layer in the baking dish. Pour the ragu over the shells and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover and bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove, uncover and let stand about 10 minutes.


I used low-fat ricotta, part-skim mozzarella and egg whites in the shell and turkey Italian sausage in the ragu. One serving is only 383 calories with 10 grams of fat, 43 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, and 31 grams of protein. And, just as important, it got a big thumbs up from the family. The cheese filling was creamy without being overly heavy and sauce was a nice tangy counterpoint. My finicky son couldn't get enough.




Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 10:10pm


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