Green and Lean: Delicious Veggie Dishes

VEGETARIAN MONTH IS AN ANNUAL DESIGNATION OBSERVED DURING THE MONTH OF OCTOBER. EVEN IF YOU ARE A MEAT EATER, NOW’S THE TIME TO GIVE SOME VEGETARIAN RECIPES A TRY!

VEGETARIAN SKILLET STUFFED SHELLS
(4 SERVINGS)

INGREDIENTS:
• 18 jumbo pasta shells (about 6 oz.)
• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
• 5 oz. baby spinach
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 3 cups marinara sauce
• 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 cups whole-milk ricotta
• 3 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
• 3 tbsp. finely chopped oregano, divided

PREPARATION:
Cook shells in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 9 minutes; drain. Run under cold water to stop the cooking; drain again. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release juices, then are dry again and nicely browned, 5–6 minutes; season with black pepper and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium, add wine, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, 1–2 minutes. Add spinach, cover, and cook until beginning to wilt, 1–2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is completely wilted and most of the liquid is evaporated, 2–4 minutes more. Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl; reserve skillet. Cook garlic and butter in reserved skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant and beginning to brown, 2–3 minutes. Add marinara sauce and red pepper and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 6–8 minutes. While sauce cooks, add ricotta, 3 oz. Parmesan, 2 tbsp. oregano, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt to mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Spoon about 2 tbsp. ricotta mixture into each shell. The shell should be filled to capacity, but not overstuffed. Nestle stuffed shells into hot sauce in skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until shells are warmed through, 4–6 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining 1 tbsp. oregano.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CREAMED-SPINACH GRATIN
(8-10 SERVINGS)

INGREDIENTS:
• 3 pounds fresh spinach, stems discarded, or 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed
• 5 tbsp. unsalted butter plus additional for greasing pan
• 3/4 cup finely chopped onion (1 small)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3/4 tsp. black pepper
• Rounded 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 4 pounds butternut squash (2 large), peeled, quartered, and seeded
• 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmigiano- Reggiano (1/4 cup)

PREPARATION:
If using fresh spinach, bring 1-inch water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot over high heat. Add spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Thoroughly squeeze cooked fresh or thawed frozen spinach in small handfuls to remove excess moisture, then coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in an 8-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, then cook onion and garlic, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion mixture to spinach along with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cream and stir to combine. Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 3-quart shallow baking dish (13 by 9 inches; not glass). Cut squash to separate bulb section from solid neck section, then cut pieces lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices with slicer. Layer squash and spinach mixture in baking dish, using about one fifth of squash and one fourth of spinach for each layer, beginning and ending with squash. Sprinkle top layer of squash evenly with cheese and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then cover directly with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Bake until squash is tender and filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove paper and bake gratin until browned in spots, 10 to 15 minutes, or broil 3 inches from heat, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.