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Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

Ricotta cheese, spinach, pasta, and tomato sauce are four ingredients that make the best comforting Italian dishes. These four ingredients are very versatile and can be combined in numerous ways, including lasagna, ravioli, tortellini, manicotti, and in this recipe for Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells. While the former dishes require a bit of time, assembly, and patience, the latter is super quick and easy. In fact, it is so easy that you could make this any night of the week!

For the full recipe for Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells, click here!

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

This recipe for Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells is broken out into three basic parts: the ricotta and spinach filling, the tomato sauce and the pasta. These can be prepared in advance or can easily be prepared together as other parts of the dish cook or cool down. I begin by creating the ricotta and spinach mixture as the spinach needs to be cooked and cooled down before adding it into the ricotta cheese. I also add in some sautéed onions, garlic, cayenne and Parmesan cheese for extra flavour.

While the ricotta and spinach mixture is underway, I make my tomato sauce using olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, dried chili flakes and pureed tomatoes. I don’t have a recipe for this tomato sauce yet, but stay tuned for it in the new year! While my pasta sauce is bubbling away, I boil my pasta shells. Pasta shells can be found at any grocery store these days and are typically located in the pasta aisle. The shells can range in size, but pick up the pasta shells that are roughly the size of the palm of your hand. These are the best serving size in my opinion!  You don’t have to cook the pasta shells all the way through. You actually want to undercook them to be quite al dente so that they can continue to cook in the oven with all that yummy tomato sauce.

Once the ricotta and spinach filling, tomato sauce and pasta are cooked, we are ready to assemble the dish. I begin by layering a generous helping of tomato sauce across the bottom of a casserole dish. I then take a few heaping tablespoons of the ricotta and spinach mixture and stuff it into each of the pasta shells. I like lots of filling in my pasta shells so I load them up! Once all the pasta shells are filled (or the filling runs out) I top all the stuffed pasta shells with another thick layer of tomato sauce and then a nice layer of mozzarella cheese for extra cheesiness!

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

Then, I place the Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells into the oven at 350 degrees F and cover the dish with tin foil for the first 45 minutes of cooking. The foil will help the pasta shells steam and stay super moist, which will allow the pasta shells to cook all the way through. After 45 minutes, I remove the tin foil and continue to bake the Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells for another 15 minutes so that the cheese gets browned and bubbly. Once the cheese has achieved optimal browning, I remove it from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. I know, I know, it’s super tempting to dig right into it, but it’s worth a bit of a wait so that the mozzarella can firm up a bit and so that you don’t burn your mouth!

I like to serve 3-4 shells per person with a fresh green salad and a slice of garlic bread. This warming Italian comfort meal is perfect during these cold months as it warms you from the inside out!

I hope that you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please let me know how it turned out!

For the full recipe for Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells, click here!

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

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