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SPINACH STUFFED SHELLS


SPINACH STUFFED SHELLS

SPINACH STUFFED SHELLS. Rich, comfort and delicious meal that you can eat for, lunch or dinner. Follow this recipe to learn how to make stuffed pasta shells.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce (about 2 ½ cups total)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch dish with cooking spray. Pour half of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the dish. Save the rest of the sauce for later.
  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions; drain and rinse under cold water.
  • Squeeze all of the liquid out of the spinach. I like to use a dish towel for this, and just keep squeezing until you wring out as much water as possible. Place spinach in a large bowl.
  • Add ricotta, 1 ½ cups of the mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil, salt and garlic powder to the bowl with the spinach and stir really well with a fork to combine. Add a pinch of optional nutmeg, if desired. Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture.
  • Arrange stuffed shells in the prepared baking dish, open side up. Pour remaining half of the marinara sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil cover during the final 5-10 minutes to allow the cheese to get a little bit crispy on top.

Recipe Notes

  • You will only need to use about half of the box of pasta shells (about 20 shells total); however, I recommend cooking the entire box because you will find that many of the shells break during the cooking process and will not be useable for stuffing.
  • To prep ahead: Assemble the stuffed shells in the baking dish as instructed. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

  • Can you freeze Spinach Stuffed Shells? Yes! Assemble the stuffed shells in the baking dish as instructed and freeze before baking. Wrapped tightly, the shells will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, you can either thaw the stuffed shells in the refrigerator overnight (and bake according to the recipe instructions); or you can bake the frozen casserole at 350 degrees for about 50-60 minutes (or until heated through). Don’t forget to remove the foil during the final 5-10 minutes of baking to allow the cheese to brown on top!
  • How many stuffed shells per person? I generally assume about 2-3 shells per person. Larger appetites might like 4, while smaller eaters may prefer 2. This recipe yields about 22 stuffed shells, and it typically feeds about 6-8 people.
  • This recipe yields a large batch to serve 8, so it’s perfect for entertaining. If you’re feeding a smaller family, you can divide the stuffed shells between two smaller 8-inch baking dishes and freeze one for later.
  • If you’d like to make the Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce, simply add 1/2 pound of cooked ground beef or ground Italian sausage to the marinara sauce.

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