I have made a number of recipes out of Deborah Madison’s fabulous book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone over the years. My brother is a vegetarian and whenever we get together for Sunday Night Dinner I make sure there is a vegetarian option. Sometimes it’s just a veggie burger but other times I go out of my way to make sure the main dish is veggie friendly. Since his birthday was a few weeks ago, I decided to try out another one of Deborah’s recipes in celebration. This was originally a lasagna recipe but I took a hankering to the shells I saw at the grocery store and modified the recipe to fit. You could just as easily do stuffed manicotti if you feel like bothering with torn tubes and the subsequent mess. I’ve determined that they give you extra of those just because of the high failure rate.
As most of the recipes I have tried from the cookbook, this one doesn’t disappoint The roasting of the eggplant gives it a slight sweetness and the chard really adds a nice depth of flavor. Even my ‘not so veggie loving’ father-in-law like it. I had to stop the crowd from devouring the last serving just so I could take this picture.
Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
1 box of Large Stuffed Shells
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 ½ pounds eggplant, sliced ¼-inch thick crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing on both sides of eggplant slices
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds green chard (about 2 bunches)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup ricotta
¾ cup grated Romano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.
2. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking time until the eggplant is lightly browned on both sides. Chop coarsely.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chard and ½ teaspoon salt, cook until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour wine and cover for about 10 minutes, until the chard becomes tender and the pan is dry. Transfer onto a cutting board and chop finely.
4. Mix ricotta, chopped chard, 1/3 cup water, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
5. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan.
6. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture until fairly full but not overflowing. Place each shell in the pan on top of the tomato sauce. You may have a few shells left over.
7. Spread the remaining sauce over the shells. Spread the cheeses on top of the sauce.
8. Cover the baking dish with foil, tenting above the surface. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.