Friday, November 02, 2007

Stuffed shells however you please...

One thing that screams comfort food to us is baked pasta dishes - they are hearty, warming and we find they generally reheat well as leftovers. Our dinner tonight, Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells, was a very basic, yet versatile pasta dish where you can feel free to add or subtract different spices and cheeses. This gives you the wonderful ability to adapt the flavor to you or your families taste.

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed ShellsThe first ingredient you need is your favorite marinara sauce whether it be homemade or purchased - I already had some in the freezer from a batch I made a couple months ago that I ended up using tonight. The filling is a creamy combination of ricotta cheese, fresh grated Asiago cheese, onion powder, oregano, crushed red pepper, spinach, an egg yolk and a couple cloves of garlic. You could use Parmesan cheese if you prefer or try adding some crumbled feta instead for a more salty bite. Play around with the spices too - if you have a preference for basil or maybe even some thyme, switch out the oregano for the spice of choice. If you don't have any ricotta on hand, I would not hesitate to puree up some cottage cheese to get that smooth texture and then use that.

How you stuff the shells is up to you - you can use a spoon if you don't mind getting a little messy, but if you want to speed things up and stay a bit more clean, place the filling into a zip-loc bag and cut off one of the corners. This way, with just a little squeeze of the hand, the filling quickly pops into the shell and you can move on to the next. The stuffed shells go onto a bed of marinara so they don't stick and are then smothered with a healthy dose on top to keep them moist as they bake. If you like things especially cheesy, you could scatter the top during the last couple of minutes in the oven with whatever cheese you decided to add to the filling. The most important part is to have fun, play around and see what combination you like the best!

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells


  1. If there's a better shape for pasta, I don't know what it is!

  2. I haven't made stuffed shells in a long, long time. Seeing your picture gave me a taste for them. I bet the asiago makes them especially delish!

  3. Brilynn - hee hee!

    Toni - I hope you give them a try!

  4. I love stuffed shells! Sadly I had lost my recipe and couldn't find a suitable replacement. Joe, you solved the problem. Thank you!

  5. Purple goddess - !

    Emily - Let me know what you think if you give it a try!