Thanks to excellent gluten-free pastas that have become available in the past few years, Italian dishes can be enjoyed by the whole family, gluten-intolerant or not.
With this freezer-friendly stuffed pasta dish, you can treat yourself to a night off from cooking or enjoy a quality at-home hot lunch. This freezer meal is hearty and cheesy and includes nutritious spinach. If you wish, you can bake some or all of this dish right away.
Using foil pans for freezer meals is convenient because you don’t take your regular dishes out of circulation. You can dispose of the pans when you’re done with the meal, or wash and re-use them a time or two. For this recipe, mini loaf pans are a good size for individual portions, 8-inch small casserole pans work for two servings, and 8 by 8 or 9 by 13 pans are best for larger portions.
Use gluten-free shells or lasagna noodles. If using lasagna noodles, cut them in half the short way and roll the halves around the filling. Tinkyada makes gluten-free lasagna noodles and shells. Tinkyda products are available at Hy-Vee stores in their Health Market area and other natural foods stores and co-ops in our area.
Vodka pasta sauce is good in this recipe. Classico and Bove’s vodka sauces are gluten-free. If using a diferent pasta sauce, be sure to check the label to make sure it’s gluten-free.
STUFFED PASTA FREEZER MEAL
Start to finish: 1 hour
- 12-ounces pasta; gluten-free lasagna or shells
- 2 15-ounce containers ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 26-ounce jars prepared pasta sauce
Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Do not overcook. Place pasta on flat surface to cool. If using lasagna noodles, cut in half crosswise.
In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and spinach. Add eggs, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper, and mix until combined.
Choose your pans: Use 9 x 13 pan for entire recipe, 8 x 8 pans for 6 servings, 8-inch small casserole dishes for 2 servings, and/or mini loaf pans for 1 serving.
Place a layer of sauce in each pan. Distribute filling among pasta pieces, 1 to 3 tablespoons per piece. Place rolls or shells, filled side down, in pan, allowing 2 to 4 pieces per serving, depending on pasta size. Cover pasta with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Cover each pan with foil and then wrap in plastic wrap or place in plastic bag and seal.
To avoid confusion about what you have stored and to know what to do with it later, it is important that you label your container so the instructions are handy when you are ready to cook your meal. Print out the sheet of labels and tape to outside of outer wrap. Lay pans flat in freezer. Remove plastic wrap before baking. Bake according to label directions.
Nutrition information per serving: 396 calories; 149 calories from fat; 17 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 94 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 23 g protein; 4 g fiber; 953 mg sodium.
(Recipe adapted from relishrelish.com)