Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells
Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells were Katie’s request for her birthday dinner this month. Filled with ricotta, spinach, and mozzarella, these stuffed shells are cheesy and comforting!
Baked Pasta dishes fill the house with an incredible aroma as they cook. Just add a simple salad and a loaf of bread for a tasty meal!
Why You Must Make
- Our daughter, Katie, is a self-proclaimed picky eater. And I’m here to second that! This is one of the few dishes she will eat that contains actual vegetables.
- I found the stuffed shells recipe on the back of a box of pasta many years ago. You know that companies put their BEST recipes on their products so you will keep purchasing them!
- I started adding a box of frozen, chopped spinach to the filling and this dish became one of our favorite meatless meals.
- Jumbo pasta shells – Manicotti shells can be used in a pinch
- Ricotta cheese – Whole Milk Ricotta
- Mozzarella Cheese – Shredded
- Grated Parmesan – Use real Parmigiano Reggiano, not the green can that’s on the store shelves.
- Frozen Chopped Spinach – A 10-ounce box, defrosted and squeezed very dry
- Marinara Sauce – A good quality storebought or homemade marinara
These stuffed pasta shells are vegetarian and make a terrific, hearty meatless meal. Like lasagna, these stuffed shells freeze well, so you can keep a stash in the freezer for those nights you don’t have time to make dinner.
- I make these with jumbo pasta shells, but if your market doesn’t have them in stock you can substitute manicotti shells, which are tubes of pasta. It will take more than one box of manicotti to use up all the filling.
- A box of frozen chopped spinach is what makes these stuffed shells with spinach. Defrost the spinach in the fridge overnight or place the box in a bowl of warm water to hurry the process along. It must be squeezed dry so the filling isn’t watery. You can use a potato ricer (though it’s hard to clean!) to squeeze the spinach dry or place it in a colander and press the liquid out, but I often use my clean hands to do the squeezing.
- The process is easy. Cook the pasta, drain and separate the shells on a baking sheet while you prepare the filling. The pasta will stick together if you drain and leave it in the pan. Mix the filling ingredients, then stuff, place in a casserole dish with some marinara or leftover spaghetti sauce, and bake.
- I like to keep a stash of leftover spaghetti sauce in my freezer for recipes like this. If it’s only 2 cups, it’s no big deal, even if the recipe calls for 3 cups. It will still be delicious. I also use it to make a quick Chicken Parmesan.
- If you can’t find ricotta, you can substitute cottage cheese. You might consider blending the cottage cheese to make it more of a ricotta consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, the answer is yes. Pasta needs a lot of liquid to go from hard to al dente (the perfect “to the tooth” texture). If you use no-boil lasagna noodles, they don’t require quite as much liquid to rehydrate. But for these stuffed shells, the pasta must be cooked first.
Follow the recipe, but covering the baking dish with a sheet of greased foil will keep the pasta from drying out while in the oven. If you want the cheese topping to brown slightly, the foil can be removed during the last 10-15 minutes of baking.
Yes! Just use a meaty pasta sauce that contains ground beef or sausage.
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- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 2 pounds ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling over the dish
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed dry
- 3 cups marinara sauce (jarred or homemade)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, and cool while preparing the filling.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set it aside.
- Combine cheeses, eggs, seasonings, and spinach. Mix well. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the baking dish.
- Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of filling and place in the prepared dish.
- Cover shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or till hot and bubbly.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 551Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 1393mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 37g