This is what we ate for dinner tonight. As usual I had no clear idea what I was doing until I started cooking, but I’m quite pleased with the results. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding it to my mental Rolodex. It’s incredibly vitamin and fiber-rich, which makes me feel better about eating all the cheese and pasta! I’ve snuck a ton of kale into the filling and pureed sweet potatoes into the sauce, so it’s kinda got everything you’d want from a meal right in one casserole dish. The addition of orange zest and sage make it incredibly complex and exciting. Enjoy!
For the Filling:
-Remove the stems from 1 lb. of fresh kale and wash thoroughly. Dry the leaves and set aside.
-In a large skillet, saute 1/2 a large onion, minced in olive oil, until translucent.
-Add 8 oz of cremini mushrooms, (1 package) that you’ve minced. Season with cracked black pepper.
-Once mushrooms are browned and given off their liquid, season with salt.
-Chop your washed kale leaves and add to the pan in batches.
-Season with more S&P to taste once the kale has wilted and turned a deep green color.
-Grate in 3 cloves of garlic and toss. Turn off heat.
-Place the veggies in a large bowl and allow to cool before adding in freshly grated nutmeg, the zest of 1 large orange and a handful of fresh sage leaves that you’ve minced.
-Add to this 1 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese, (low fat is always OK). Stir to combine.
(Reserve sage stems and a 2 inch piece of orange peel for later). Set this aside while you make the sweet potato cream and boil your pasta water-
For the Sweet Potato Cream:
-Microwave 1 large sweet potato until tender (I’m sure you know to poke it with a fork first…)
– Allow to cool enough to handle and remove the skin. Place the flesh into a clean bowl. Mash with a fork.
-In a medium saucepan bring 2 1/2 cups of milk or cream* to an almost simmer with the reserved orange peel and sage stems, a pinch of salt and 1 TB of sugar.
-Turn the heat down to low and allow to steep for several minutes before pouring it over your mashed sweet potato.
-Stir until it becomes the consistency of cream soup (you may need to use your immersion blender if it’s too chunky.) Set aside.
For the Pasta/Assembly:
-Boil 1 lb. of large pasta shells in heavily salted water. Cook til al dente, or just before and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
-Return to pot with the heat turned off and add in your kale mixture and the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine and place in a large, greased casserole dish.
-Pour the sweet potato cream over top, making sure everything is evenly distributed.
-Top with about 1 cup of grated Mozzarella Cheese.
-Top with another cup or so of grated Parm or Romano cheese.
-Bake, uncovered, at 350* for 30min or until the cheese is bubbly and the edges begin to brown.
(*note-I always cook with evaporated milk that I keep on hand in the pantry)
Food + Wine
Great flavor combinations here! My sage has to get just a little bigger before I can attempt it. (It died last winter, and I've planted a new plant.) Thanks, Abbey…..
Thanks Tinky! Our sage got pretty close to dying last winter too and then we replanted it and now it's better than ever! I guess it liked out new house better…
Yum Yum! You can also use Almond milk I've been gettig it on sale with coupons, cheaper then milk! I'm going to try this!
Yes, you most certainly can use almond milk, that's what I usually have on hand for my cereal (and yes, there are always lots of coupons out there for it!)
Thanks Carolyn-let me know how it turns out!