Stuffed pasta shells in tomato sauce

This is a biggie for smuggling stuff kids don't usually like, such as spinach. I know, weird right? But here's the thing with spinach- if you overcook it, get gets gross. Here, we cooked for a few minutes fresh spinach with some garlic, drained it from the murky stuff that appears later, and mixed it with riccota cheese. That plus a creamy tomato sauce will make the pickiest people eat this dish without no problems. Truth is, when I have picky guests, I never tell them exactly what we're going to eat, I observe them eat, smile, and pat their tummies, then I tell them, they had spinach, or garlic, or other stuff. Like my husband. Hates tons of things and really need to hide them in the food so he eats it. Or my sister. I'm going to be a great parent :) Point is- stuffings are great for hiding food. Besides, this dish is absolutly to die for. Simple and pleasurable.  You can serve this as a snack at parties, or as a main dish. I'm drooling again, sorry, I do that sometimes when I'm hungry.

Type of dish: main, snack
Cost: medium
Difficulty: easy
Serves: 4-10
Time: 55min
Preparation time: 25min
Baking time: 30 min
Oven temp: 180C
What you need to prepare this dish:
2 large saucepans and 1 lid, spoon, collander, large shallow baking dish, knife, cutting board, large frying pan, spatula, medium bowl, hand blender.


  • 12-15 large pasta shells
  • 250gr fresh spinach
  • 1 can tomatos
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • a pinch of dried or fresh herbs: basil, oregano, parsley, thyme
  • 1tsp sugar
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • optional: 1 egg
How to prepare:
Heat water in one of the pans, add a pinch od salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. When it boils, put in the pasta shells and cook acording to time on packet. Chop up the onion and garlic. Wash the spinach. Put ricotta cheese in the medium bowl. Heat up the other saucepan, add a tbsp of olive oil and fry the onion until translucent. Then, add the herbs and te tomatoes. Add sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper and water. Stir well and put lid on, turn the heat down to medium. Look in every few mionutes to give it a stir.  Heat up the frying pan on high heat, add a tbsp of olive oil and when hot, add the garlic. When it turns golden, remove from the pan and toss in half of the spinach. Mix around so it wilts, and when all is wilted, transfer to chopping board, and proceed with the other half of spinach. When thats done, the murky liquid should drip out, wipe that away or drain over the sink.  Cut the spinach with a sharp knife and mix with the ricotta. Heat the oven to 180C.  Now, if the pasta is cooked, drain and put in the baking dish, and drizzle olive oil over the shells. Look into the pot with the tomato sauce, the tomatoes should dissolve already, and take the hand blender now and blend away happily for 3-5 min. Back to the shells. Using a spoon, put in each shell a spoon full of the ricotta - spinach mixture. Arrange them in the baking dish with the open part side up. Pour over the tomato sauce and put in oven for 30 min to bake, checking every 10 min if it's not burning. After that time, you're ready to serve. Enjoy!

Additional info:
If you have some mozzarella, you can also place a slice of cheese on the top of the shells after filling, so a nice cheese cap forms after baking. Also, you can replace the spinach with fresh parley, chives, or a meat filling instead of cheese. The choice is yours!

No comments:

Post a Comment