Friday, April 27, 2012

creamy shells with tuna and spinach... 50 minutes

the goods:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 hamburger bun, torn into large pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
2 cans (6 ounces each) light tuna in water, drained and flaked
6 ounces jumbo pasta shells (about 20)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, and cook until slightly thickened and bubbling, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and let sauce cool slightly.

In a food processor, combine bun, Parmesan, Italian seasoning. and red-pepper flakes. Process until fine crumbs form. Transfer half the mixture to a large bowl and combine with spinach, tuna, and half the cream sauce; season with salt and pepper.

You can boil your noodles, or leave them raw, however, if you leave them raw, be sure to completely submerge them in the sauce, otherwise some corners will be hard. 

Fill each shell with 2 heaping tablespoons spinach mixture and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Top with remaining sauce and breadcrumb mixture.

Bake until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, about 20 minutes.

Toss together a salad: In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon each red-wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Add 3/4 head iceberg lettuce, chopped, and 1 tomato, cut into wedges. Toss to combine.

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