Heyyy guys! So i’ve been cooking a lot of italian dishes recently.. nothing say comfort food like a big bowl of pasta. Okay, so stuffed shells. You can basically fill them with anything you would like. Cheese and ground beef, cheese and spinach, just cheese, you get the picture. I decided to fill mine with cheese and spinach, thought about adding in some sun dried tomatoes – I’ll probably try that next time! Stuffed shells are defiantly an easy dish and the recipe will make about 32 shells, so this is something you could prepare and freeze (shout-out to you J Ostetrico) for those busy days when you don’t have time to cook!
Recipe: Stuffed Shells
- 32 large pasta shells
- large jar of marinara – 3/4 cups
- 2- 2 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese
- 1 bag of mozzarella cheese
- 1 package of frozen spinach
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 2-4 gloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Place large pasta shells in a large pot of boiling water. Cook until pasta is al dente, they will continue to cook more in the oven. Rinse with cold water and drain.
- Thaw spinach and drain on paper towel as much as possible. Too much water left in the spinach will make the filling watery. I usually use a paper towel to ring the extra water out.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mince garlic and fennel seed. Chop a handful of parsley and basil, about 2 tablespoons each. Chop a small amount more of basil and put to the side.
- In a large mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, spinach, garlic, fennel, basil and parsley. Taste filling and add salt and pepper if necessary, mix well.
- In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce evenly over the bottom to make sure the shells do not stick to the dish.
- Take a large ziplock bag and fill it with the cheese and spinach filling. Cut a hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag, about the size of a quarter. You will use this to fill the shells. You can fill them by hand however, using the ziplock is quick and will cut back on the mess.
- Fill each shell with mixture and place filling side up in baking dish. When finish filling the shells, us the remaining sauce to cover the shells. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese over shells.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake in over for about 30 minutes. After finished top shells with the basil you set aside earlier!
- If you decide you want to freeze some of the batch, just skip the baking step and put some shells and sauce in tupperwear or a freezer bag. When your ready to cook them, thaw the shells and continue with step 8!