Rose Fox (rosefox) wrote in vegancooking,
Rose Fox

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Stuffed shells

This was my first time making cashew ricotta. I realize I'm late to the program but OMG YOU GUYS IT IS SO GOOD. My omni husband was very very skeptical but by the time we were done with dinner he was completely won over.

This recipe uses an entire box of shells; I think we ended up with about 35 of them. Four or five are plenty for one person. They may look small, but they're dense, and between the TVP and the cashews there's a lot of protein in there. I stored the rest of them four to a container and we'll take them to work and nuke them up for lunch.

4 cups raw cashews
Boiling water
Cold filtered water
20 leaves basil
2 tsp salt
Whole nutmeg and grater
Whole peppercorns and grinder
1 cup TVP granules
"Ground beef" seasonings
1 bulb fennel, diced fairly fine
1 cup shredded fake mozzarella (ideally Daiya or some other brand that melts well)
56 oz (2 cans) crushed tomatoes
Olive oil, thyme, oregano, fresh basil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, salt, etc.
1 box jumbo shells

Place cashews in heatproof bowl. Pour in enough boiling water to cover them completely. Let soak at least 3 hours and as long as 12 hours. Drain and place in food processor fitted with chopping blade. As the processor runs, drizzle in a little cold filtered water once a minute or so and occasionally stop the processor to scrape down the sides. Continue until cashews have a dense, creamy, slightly coarse texture; be careful not to add too much water. When desired texture is achieved, add basil, salt, freshly grated nutmeg, and freshly ground pepper, and process just enough to mix.

In skillet, cook TVP with 1 cup water and seasonings over low heat until all the water has been absorbed, and then fry over medium heat until browned. Add fennel, reduce heat slightly, and cover. Cook 10 minutes or until fennel is soft. Remove from heat. When cooled, mix into cashew ricotta along with about 3/4 cup fake mozzarella.

In medium-size pot, combine crushed tomatoes and seasonings to taste. Bring to simmer.

Boil water and cook shells. When they're al dente, rinse with cold water until they're cool enough to handle and drain them thoroughly. Spread them on a foil-covered baking sheet so they don't stick together. Line a 9" x 13" pan and a 9" x 9" pan with foil and pour a cup or so of tomato sauce into each pan. Fill shells with ricotta–TVP–fennel mixture; they should be full but not overflowing. (The simplest way to do this is by hand; spoons will only get in your way. I recommend wearing nitrile gloves for easy clean-up.) Arrange them in the pans. Pour more sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup fake mozzarella. Cover with foil so the shells and sauce don't get dried out. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
Tags: ethnic food-italian-pasta, nuts-cashews, substitutes-dairy-cheese, tvp (textured vegetable protein)
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