Food: Stuffed Shells
Content-Type: Food Blog
The best kind of spicy, cheesy comfort meal is these stuffed shells!
They have a creamy, savory filling made of ricotta cheese, fresh spinach, and lemon zest. I adore how the chewy spaghetti contrasts with the creamy ricotta filling, and homemade or store-bought marinara is the ideal tangy finishing sauce for both.
I can never help but return to the kitchen after my first serving since I can’t resist the temptation of more food. These stuffed shells are delicious!
This recipe for stuffed shells is simple to prepare (and can even be made in advance!) and is ideal for feeding a crowd.
It would be a great meal to include on the menu if you’re hosting a gathering or dinner party this season. It is certain to be a success because it is cozy and timeless.
RECIPE FOR STUFFED SHELLS INGREDIENTS
You’ll need about ten staple ingredients to make this recipe for filled shells. I like to divide them into three categories:
- Large pasta shells are required for this dish.
- Use your preferred store-bought tomato sauce—I like Rao’s—or prepare your marinara sauce if you prefer. Both are superb.
- Additionally, the ricotta filling consists of ricotta cheese and chopped, fresh spinach that has been steamed. To add depth of flavor, I also whisk in shredded pecorino cheese, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and dried oregano.
MAKING STUFFED SHELLS
Although they are tasty, warm, and great for entertaining, stuffed shells are still quite easy to make. Here is how to make this dish:
- What comes first? You must steam the spinach first, then begin combining the filling. Remove it from the fire when it’s soft and bright green, then put it in a strainer and squeeze off the extra liquid. Just slice it up. The filling can then be made by combining it with ricotta, pecorino, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook the pasta in the meantime. When drained, it should be just barely al dente. It will be finished in the oven.
- Stuff the shells after that. a lot of fun! (Along with the messy part.) Fill each shell with a tiny spoonful of the cheese mixture. The filling should be plenty for 18–20 shells when divided equally.
- Then bake. A 9×13 baking dish should have 2 cups of marinara sauce on the bottom. Place within the shells, cover with foil, and bake at 425°F for 20 minutes.
Instead, you can put the stuffed shells in the baking dish, cover it with foil, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours if you want to prepare this recipe ahead of time.
Simply bake the shells and serve when ready to dine. See the recipe’s notes for details on freezing.
SERVING IDEAS FOR STUFFED SHELLS
Add extra Pecorino (or Parmesan) cheese and fresh parsley to the stuffed shells before serving. Extra marinara should be served alongside. To ensure I receive sufficient sauce in every bite, I prefer to spread it over the shells as I eat.
Add a green salad and some nice bread to complete the meal. I frequently serve these stuffed shells with my Homemade Caesar Salad, but my Arugula Salad, Beet Salad, or Simple Green Salad would also go well with this dish.
And you really can’t go wrong with bread! Continue to use a crusty loaf, or create rosemary focaccia, garlic knots, or dinner rolls.
This filling, savory meal of stuffed shells with spinach and ricotta is so cozy! Up to 4 hours in advance, you can pack the shells and put them in the baking dish with the marinara.
Until you’re ready to serve, place them in the refrigerator covered with foil. then simply bake and consume!
- 18 to 20 jumbo pasta shells
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 5 ounces spinach
- 2 cups (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese, more for sprinkling
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more for the pasta water
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce*, plus more for serving
- chopped parsley, for serving
- Set the oven to 425 °F.
- Set a steamer basket over a pot with one inch of water, then add the spinach. Simmering the water for one minute with the lid on will cause the spinach to wilt. Slice the spinach, then transfer it to a sieve and squeeze off the extra water.
- Cook the pasta shells for 10 minutes, or until they are al dente, in a large pot of salted boiling water. To prevent them from sticking together, drain and sprinkle with a little olive oil.
- Spinach, ricotta, pecorino, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and a few grinds of pepper should all be combined in a medium bowl.
- In the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, spread the marinara. Place the filled shells on the serving plate one at a time. Bake for 20 minutes while the foil is covered. More marinara should be served on the side.
*Rao’s Marinara is our preferred brand of store-bought marinara sauce.
This dish freezes nicely! After putting the shells together in the baking dish, wrap them in foil and freeze them. Transfer the dish to the refrigerator about 10 hours before serving to thaw (i.e. the morning that you plan to serve them for dinner).
Take it out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven heats up. Bake covered in the oven for 30 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.