Sometimes you want something warm, creamy and comforting in your belly, don’t you? I do. Pasta shells stuffed with spinach and ricotta, topped with a tangy tomato sauce is the perfect meal for such cravings.
I make a Simple Tomato Sauce, but if you want to keep things quick and easy, use a store bought marinara sauce. One ingredient that can make or break this dish is the ricotta. Use a high quality brand such as Bel Gioioso Ricotta, or you may be able to find locally made ricotta at a farmer’s market near you. I have found that when I have used store or generic brands, I’ve ended up with gritty textured fillings, when it should be creamy and slightly sweet in flavor. This is also a great recipe to make ahead of time and reheat, and makes for delicious leftovers.
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
|Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells|
- 1 box jumbo pasta shells
- 1 16-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 8-once ball fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 23-ounce jar store bought marinara sauce or Simple Tomato Sauce
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
- Add the pasta shells and stir.
- Cook the pasta until al dente, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and rinse with cool water.
- Spoon 1 cup of tomato sauce into a 10”x 14” (or of similar size) baking dish and spread it around so it covers the bottom of the dish.
- Squeeze the water out of the spinach and place in a large bowl.
- Sauté the shallots in a small pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for two to three minutes until they are softened and then place the shallots in the bowl with the spinach.
- Add the egg, ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan, salt, and pepper in with the spinach and mix thoroughly.
- Spoon a heaping tablespoonful of the spinach mixture into each shell.
- Nestle shells against each other in the baking dish.
- Spoon additional tomato sauce over shells.
- Cover with foil and bake in 350 oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil, sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with grated Parmesan and fresh basil.