One Pot Cheesy Kale Baked Shells

One Pot Cheesy Kale Baked Shells

My daughter Scarlett has gone completely vegetarian. Her commitment has been really inspiring but it has its challenges. Dan and I don’t eat a lot of meat. In addition, I approach our meal plans as if we’re flexitarians–having meat only about twice a week–but getting one meal we can all enjoy can be a difficult, unless you’re talking about pasta.

Pasta dishes are the one meal I don’t have to worry about altering or dividing in half so she can add a meat alternative. Instead I can just work on autopilot. I also love this method of making the sauce and boiling the pasta in the very same pot. I often will do it my large cast iron pan so I don’t have to transfer it to a casserole dish. If you don’t have an oven proof pan, don’t worry. You can add it to a casserole dish for baking and still be ahead in the clean up game since you boiled the pasta inside the sauce.

Aside from being easy and low on the clean up scale, this baked dish has the ultimate cheesy factor. If you’re looking for the most comforting of comfort dishes to warm your soul then you’ve stumbled upon it. Oh, and I’m calling it healthy too since it has a green baked right inside. I can do that because I’m the boss of my kitchen. My kitchen may have some alternate facts, but they’re all designed to make us feel good.

Photo by Ashley van der Laan

One Pot Cheesy Kale Baked Shells

This ultra cheesy dish is cooked right in its sauce and gets a nutritional boost from kale. It's the ultimate weeknight dinner.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Indian
Keyword: pasta, cheese, one pot, kale

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 660 ml passata
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 500 g shells
  • 1 cup chopped frozen kale
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups mozzarella, divided
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet or pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook another minute.
  • Stir in the passata, 2 1/2 cups water, red pepper flakes, oregano and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Then add the pasta. The key is to be sure all the pasta is covered in the liquid so add a bit of water if needed. Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently until the pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes. 
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and kale. If needed, tranfer to baking dish and sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan and mozzarella.
  • Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Before serving, cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with some chopped basil and enjoy.

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