Monday, April 16, 2012

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

The first thing most people think about when they hear ricotta is lasagna or something similar. I am thankful to Emily and Missy for not doing the go-to recipe and leaving me the most obvious one. I went for the Spinach and Cheese shells as I was looking for something with more veggies and no meat. I did manage to find whole wheat lasagna pasta while shopping so next time I'll go for the lasagna. I was also hoping I could freeze something to bring with us on our road trip to Montana in two weeks! It will be one less meal to cook while being gone for over a week!

Spinach and Cheese Shells (taken from

32 jumbo pasta shells
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, gently place pasta shells in boiling water; bring water back to boil. Cook until noodles are just tender; drain well.

Squeeze spinach dry. Combine spinach, ricotta, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, fennel, basil and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper; mix well.
Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Fill each pasta shell with the spinach cheese mixture. Arrange the shells, filling side up in the baking dish. Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the shells. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the shells.

Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven until heated through; about 30 minutes.

Modifications: I used fresh spinach because it's easy to do (the big one from Costco). I used a ton of sauce because it looks better. I did cook two shells to taste test for my post. I thought they weren't too rich and I didn't think the spinach flavor was noticeable. I just hope the kids feel the same way. The rest I freezed in a throw away pan.

Wish me luck with the kids on a 12 hour road trip! Any tips?


  1. And I think it's lower calories because the ricotta was "light" and the only other cheese was parmesan. Jolie

  2. I’ve never made stuffed shells before. Yours look absolutely delicious and I’m impressed you’re already planning ahead getting ready for your trip. Which, by the way, I can’t wait to hear more about! Where are you staying? What are you doing? And I’m with you, why use frozen spinach when fresh is so much easier!? Good luck on your road trip!

  3. Impressive Jolie! You're making me hungry. Enjoy your trip!

  4. Nice job Jolie! This is very inspired.