Sunday, July 29, 2012

Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

This was one of my first vegetarian meals and it was awesome!

Whole foods says this...
This pasta dish will soon become a family favorite. In a hurry? Use a cup of thawed spinach instead of fresh; just be sure to squeeze it well to remove any excess water. Serve with garlic bread and a fresh salad for a complete meal.

Ingredients are simple:
16 jumbo pasta shells
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Drain well then toss with oil in a large bowl; set aside

Preheat oven to 375. Put spinach into a large skillet and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of water.

Cover and cook over medium low heat, tossing occasionally, until just wilted; drain well. When cool enough to handle, squeeze to remove any excess water. Chop spinach and transfer to a large bowl. Add garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, egg and basil to make the filing.

Spread a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the shells in a single layer. Fill each shell with spinach mixture and arrange in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over and around the stuffed shells and top with Mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until hot throughout, 20-30 minutes, then remove foil and back until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

What I would have done differently.
I would have added less marinara sauce and baked a little longer with the foil. I think mushrooms would have been really good also.

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