Sunday, 31 May 2009

Italian Favorites: Stuffed Spinach and Ricotta Shells

My oldest son was watching Giada's show on the Food Network with me couple of weeks ago( he *adores* Giada, by the way) and in one of the recipes, she had made "Stuffed Pasta Shells", now....this caught both mine and his attention right away and we
decided to make it for our supper.

Last night, I tried it and it came out quite good, a little too bland for my palate, but good nonetheless!

Here's what you need:

  • Large Pasta Shells- as needed
  • Salt to taste
  • 24 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 packets- baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs, Italian seasoned
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 medium red onion- sliced
  • 2-5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese


Make the Pasta Sauce beforehand. See my old recipe for a homemade version, you can substitute a jarred one, but fresh pasta sauce makes a tremendous difference!

Cook shells in boiling salted water, following package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and parsley, mix until well blended.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add onion and sauté until golden in color. Add garlic, and then the chopped spinach. Add peppers or any other veggies you like. Cook until just wilted. Season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cool for 10 minutes and mix it along with the cheese mix that you just prepared. You will be stuffing each pasta shell carefully with the spinach and cheese mixture.

Pour sauce into a baking dish. Carefully spoon cheese mixture into shells; arrange shells, opening side up, in tomato sauce in the pan. Pour more sauce over shells. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Return stuffed shells to oven and bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Enjoy this recipe hot out of the oven, with some garlic bread and or a salad.


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