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Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Giant Pasta Shells



Course Main
Cuisine Canadian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 56 shells
Author Valerie Lugonja

Ingredients

  • 50 grams or 4-5 large cloves fresh garlic , minced (8-10 small)
  • 4 packages frozen chopped spinach , well drained (2 boxes only, unless you want the Spinach flavour to really sing!)
  • 1.5 litre ricotta cheese
  • 500 grams mozzarella cheese , shredded
  • 250 grams grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 40 grams fresh basil , finely chopped (small container)
  • 5 grams or 2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
  • 60 jumbo pasta shells (makes about 54) or 2 boxes (durum wheat)
  • 1 litre homemade tomato sauce
  • no salt (there is a lot of cheese with salt already in the recipe)

Instructions

Instructions for the Filling and Shells

  1. In mixing bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, garlic, Parmesan, egg, basil, and pepper; set aside
  2. Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions; drain and stuff each shell

Prepare for Freezer

  1. To freeze in bags without sauce, place each shell on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper; bag and label the next day (about 6 per bag) OR
  2. Scantly cover bottom of casserole with homemade tomato sauce; place stuffed shells snuggly on top, and freeze

To serve

  1. From freshly made: Scantly cover bottom of casserole with homemade sauce; place stuffed shells snuggly on top
  2. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes; remove foil and place a slice of cheese on each shell continue baking until golden and bubbly (10-15 minutes)
  3. Serve warm with extra Parmesan
  4. From Frozen: Scantly cover bottom of casserole with homemade sauce; place stuffed shells snuggly on top
  5. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes; remove foil and place a slice of cheese on each shell continue baking until golden and bubbly (10-15 minutes)
  6. Serve warm with extra Parmesan

Recipe Notes

Cooking Pasta Shells
Cook each box of pasta shells, one at a time, following the instructions on the box
Toss the first box in a couple of tablespoons of delicious fruity extra virgin olive oil to ensure they don't stick to one another while preparing the second box, and later, while stuffing the shells

Spinach Flavour
If you don't care for spinach, use only 2 boxes of frozen spinach in the filling
Any other frozen vegetable would work well, but you would have to wring it as dry as the spinach to ensure the moisture was right out of it: then you could replace the 2 boxes of spinach with 2 cups of any other vegetable
However, it is not necessary