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Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells 40 – 2.5 inch shells
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ¾ cup Pecorino Romano cheese grated, Parmesan cheese works too
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 2 10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups tomato sauce freshly prepared although your favorite commercial brands works well too

Instructions

  • Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil and cooking the pasta according to the package directions.
    For a 12-ounce box of shells, this means add the shells, give them a good stir and cook until just tender.
  • You don’t want to overcook the shells because they are going to be cooked again after you add the filling and are baked in the oven. Stir the shells occasionally and when done, drain and separate the shells on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick.
  • The shells are going to be hot after you drain them and will stick together if you wait for them to cool off so I use the spray nozzle to cool them off quickly with cold water.
  • As soon as the shells are drained and separated, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prepare the Filling

  • While you are bringing the water to a boil, prepare the filling.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl, and then add the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, ½ cup Pecorino cheese, parsley, chopped spinach and the pinch of nutmeg.
  • Season with a little salt and pepper and combine all these ingredients with a large spoon.
  • When the pasta is ready, fill each shell with a large spoonful of the filling. You don’t want to over-stuff them but don’t be skimpy either.
  • In a baking dish big enough to hold all the shells, pour in some of the tomato sauce to coat the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of shells, then some more sauce and then another layer of shells. Top with a little more sauce.
  • Depending on the size of your baking dish, you’ll end up with two layers.
  • Top the shells with the remaining ¼ cup of Pecorino cheese and cover. If the baking dish doesn’t have a cover, use some aluminum foil.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes. When done, the pan will be hot and bubbly.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, remove the cover and let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool down a bit.
  • Using a large serving spoon, carefully serve the shells and serve with some fresh Italian bread.