Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

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Pasta, Pasta, Pasta….

Pasta is one of the easiest things to make. You can’t go wrong with a bowl of any pasta. It’s one of the few things I make weekly. My kids love it too. Some days, there’s not too much time to cook up an elaborate meal, so pasta is always the way to go. It’s a staple pantry item at our home for sure. I always have several kinds of pasta for those days I need to make something quick. Whether you dress it up, or keep it simple, pasta is filling and inexpensive.

I feel that pasta shells are so underrated! These cute shells are perfect for holding cheese, sauce, or even veggies, like little canopies of goodness. They’re fun for kids too. While the smaller sized shells are great for mac-n-cheese, the larger ones can be filled with more “grown up” ingredients.  This next recipe is fast, easy, and will wow your guests too. You can make it ahead, and keep in the freezer for your weekend get-together. How great is that? Let’s eat.IMG_1361

Here is the recipe:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 26 oz. of spaghetti sauce (use your favorite / make your own; I used Prego brand Roasted Garlic & Herb)
  • 15 oz. of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. of mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 8 oz. Of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 whole egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Boil the pasta shell using about half the time of instructions stated on the box. (Ex: If the box states to boil the pasta for 14-15 minutes, boil for only 8-9 minutes.) Drain and set aside. The shells will finish cooking in the oven. If you find no bake shells, use them instead and skip this step.
  3. In a food processor, add the fresh spinach and chop to a small, fine size. Do not over process or puree.
  4. Open the food processor and add the ricotta cheese, salt, black ground pepper, garlic powder, and the whole egg. Blend all the ingredients together. The mixture will turn a light green. This is ok. Note: If you prefer to mix the ingredients for this step by hand, do so.
  5. Using an oven safe baking dish, add a layer of the spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the dish. I used the whole jar for the bottom layer. You can use half and then pour the other half over the shells.
  6. Now fill the pasta shells with the ricotta mixture one by one, placing them on the dish over the sauce. I used a teaspoon to fill the shells.
  7. Sprinkle the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the shells.
  8. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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