The Dish: Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

7:30 AM


Because umdaddy (my husband) grew up on raviolis, it's pretty much in regular rotation in our family's weeknight menu. I was delighted to try a new recipe that makes a nod to ravs and puts little fingers to good use. Did I mention this recipe only has seven ingredients?

Notes:
  • This is a great dish to cook with kids. I had the boy count out the shells, grate and measure cheese, and mix ingredients. He also liked stuffing the shells - perfect for little hands.
  • I added raw spinach to the mixture, which left me wanting more. I will try sauteing in oil and garlic next time before adding to the ricotta mixture.
  • Marina sauce is not pictured above because umdaddy was upset that I went with store-bought (Russo's) instead of homemade gravy. But did he clean his plate? Yes he did. And the kids gobbled it all up.


Adapted from Real Simple, May 2010
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-oz box)
{dirty little secret ingredient} store-bought marina sauce
2 15 oz containers ricotta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and run under cold water until cool.

2. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broiler-proof baking dish.

3. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10-12 minutes.

4. Increase heat to broil. Broil shells until the cheese beings to brown, 2-5 minutes.

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