Pasta Shells with Three Cheeses

I like using jumbo pasta shells rather than manicotti pasta since they hold less filling, and children are more likely to eat them. This cheesy filling goes very nicely with the creamy tomato sauce, and if you want the cheese filling to be smoother, use a food processor.

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook the shells in boiling water according to the package instructions or until firm to the bite. Drain, cover and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/3 cup cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Add the chives, milk and egg and mix until well combined. Fill the pasta shells with approximately 2 Tbsp of the filling.

4. In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce and evaporated milk until smooth. Pour half of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and pour the remaining sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with the 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until heated all the way through.

12 jumbo pasta shells (or 6 manicotti shells)
1 1/4 cups light ricotta (5%)
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
2 Tbsp low-fat milk
1 egg
3/4 cup tomato sauce (see page 334) (or store-bought spaghetti sauce)
1/4 cup canned evaporated milk (2%)
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 298
Protein 20 g
Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 6.6 g
Carbohydrates 29 g
Cholesterol 91 mg
Sodium 325 mg
Fiber 1.8 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare the stuffed shells up to a day ahead with sauce poured over. Do not bake until ready to serve.

Serves 4

Nutrition Watch: Regular ricotta is high in calories and fat—1/4 cup is about 100 calories, 8 g of fat and 5 g of saturated fat. Compare that to light ricotta (5%), which has only 60 calories, 2.5 g of fat and 1.5 g of saturated fat.