In my family, food is everything. We never pass up an opportunity to get our grub on, and we’ve pretty much got a signature dish for every holiday, event or, in my case, homecoming.
Christmas morning it’s eggs benedict, on my birthday is wiener schnitzel, for Halloween it’s fish sticks (with mayo + ketchup sauce - don’t judge) and so on. It’s a thing. I can tell you each of my family members’ favorite foods because we eat them on their birthdays every year without fail. But aside from these foodie traditions, we had a few odd snacking preferences, too.We were far too dedicated one specific brand of frozen burrito, on an average day you could find me crunching on raw Ramen noodles (yea, I still do that), and frozen stuffed shells were my jam. My family never really cooked Italian food except for the occasional spaghetti, but I fell madly in love with stuffed shells somewhere along the way.
I started ordering them every time I saw them on a menu and while everyone else was falling all over their meaty, tomatoey lasagnas and baked ziti, I was all PASS THE CHEESE. Since discovering, ignoring and finally accepting the fact that I’m severely lactose intolerant all through college, the passionate flame started dying down. And after one extremely unfortunate calzone situation (think: a bunch of dudes + work lunch + me eating a calzone the size of my face), I no longer allowed myself to be giddy at the sight of my beloved shells.
I’d pretty much given up on them completely until all my recipe development for Does This Have Dairy? got underway, but I’m happy to report that I’ve got my shells back — without the pain or awkward next-day water cooler chats. And so without further ado, I introduce to you my newest tradition: dairy-free stuffed shells.
1/2 c cashews (soaked overnight)
1/8 c lemon juice
2 T diced garlic
1 lb firm tofu
1 1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil
Large pasta shells
2 T chopped fresh basil
1 jar RAGÚ® Homestyle Zest Garlic Pasta Sauce
Imitation mozzarella cheese shreds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start boiling water to cook pasta shells
Blend cashews, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice in a high speed blender or food processor until it’s thick and creamy
Add crumbled tofu and salt to the blender mix and blend until it’s a nice ricotta texture
Mix in chopped basil
Spread half the RAGÚ® bottle over the bottom of the pan
Dunk the cooked shells in ice water after draining, then stuff them with about 2 T of ricotta mixture, arranging them in the saucy pan
Top the shells with the rest of the RAGÚ® sauce and sprinkle with imitation mozzarella cheese
Bake for 30-40 minutes
Check out more RAGÚ® recipes here!
Wanna watch me make it instead? Press play!
What kind of foodie traditions or weird snacks went down at your house?