When it comes to pasta, I can’t bring myself to resist. Sometimes I think I was an Italian in my past life because I’m always making spaghetti or ravioli (which I really want to make from scratch one day). There’s at least a few boxes of pasta sitting in my pantry at any given time, as well. I think it’s a staple because it’s a quick and easy go to meal, and can be quite simple to make a variety of dishes from it. The only draw back are the carbs, but I think I can look past that fact.
I made this on a weeknight, and it didn’t take me that long either. With a simple side salad, it made a great dinner and my whole family enjoyed the stuffed shells. I’m definitely going to make this again, and the stuffing can easily be altered to include different veggies and other goodies. I think some bacon mixed in would add great flavor, but I chose to make it vegetarian this time around. The spinach can be switched out with some blanched broccoli florets, or even kale.
This would also make a great dish to bring to a potluck or to use at dinner party. In the right dish, it makes a beautiful presentation and tastes just as great. You’ll be sure to run out of this before anything else! This could easily be prepped the night before and then popped into the oven the next day for a quick dinner.
Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells
adapted from Technicolor Kitchen
Yields 2-4 servings / Prep Time: 20 minutes / Bake Time: 30 minutes
24 jumbo pasta shells
1 25oz jarred pasta sauce*
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
10z frozen spinach, thawed
16oz part-skim ricotta
1/4c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
*If you want, you could make the sauce yourself. I prefer jarred because it’s quick, also, pick any flavor you want, I used a spicy eggplant pasta sauce.
1.) Preheat oven to 350F. Bring water to boil and add shells, cook until al dente. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add garlic once hot. Cook until fragrant, do not let it burn or else it’ll taste bitter! Add the thawed spinach, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Once all the excess water has evaporated, turn off heat and set mixture aside to cool slightly.
2.) Combine ricotta and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Add the cooled spinach mixture and parsley, then fold into the ricotta cheese mixture. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
3.) Coat bottom of a ovenproof baking dish with pasta sauce. Stuff shells with spinach ricotta mixture, about a tablespoon or so, depending on how stuffed you want it. Place shells into baking dish with sauce.
4.) Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven until bubbling, about 30 minutes.