In this healthy stuffed shells recipe, tons of dark leafy chard replaces some of the cheese. Kale and/or collards are good substitutes for the chard as well. Serve with a salad with Italian vinaigrette.
To prepare sauce: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, water, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in basil. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
To prepare shells: Cook shells in boiling water until not quite tender, about 9 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Dry the pot.
Rinse chard well and thoroughly pat dry with a clean towel. Separate the leaves from the stems. Thinly slice the leaves and dice the stems; keep separate.
Heat oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chard stems, ham and shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the chard leaves and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and pepper; let stand, stirring occasionally, until cooled slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in ricotta and Parmesan.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce; spread the remaining sauce in a 9-by-13-inch pan (or similar-size 3-quart baking dish). Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of filling; place in the pan. Spoon the reserved sauce over the shells. Coat a piece of foil with cooking spray and tightly cover the pan, sprayed-side down.
Bake until the filling is steaming and the sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6; refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
1 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 medium-fat meat, 1 1/2 fat
outstanding!! cut the oil in half. doubled the garlic. added 1/4 cup pasta water to tomato sauce. outstanding!