Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I’ve never really had a special recipe for stuffed shells, usually just glancing at a few recipes off the internet and then winging it—which means that I almost always ended up with either not enough or too much filling for whatever number of shells I cooked. This year (2008) I made stuffed shells for Christmas dinner and, as predicted, had to scramble because I ran out of filling. So, afterwards I wrote down what I ended up needing. We’ll see if it works the next time I decide to make them!

Servings: 6-12, depending on what else you serve with these

24 jumbo pasta shells
2 – 15 oz. containers (or one 32 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 – 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
2 eggs
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper
2-3 cups good tomato sauce (preferably homemade, see my recipe here)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tsp. salt and pasta shells. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally (keep the boil less than ferocious so as not to break the shells). Drain and rinse under lukewarm water to cool enough to handle. Drain fully.

While pasta is cooking, combine ricotta, squeezed spinach, eggs, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 3/4 cup parmesan, basil, oregano, and nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste. [Save remaining mozzarella and parmesan for topping later.]

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Fill each shell generously with 1-2 tablespoons of filling. Arrange stuffed shells in prepared dish; top with additional sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Return to oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.

Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Copyright © 2009, Lucinda DeWitt


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