Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells in the pan

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Dinner

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells are easy, cheesy, and delicious. Giant pasta shells are filled with a creamy spinach and ricotta mixture then baked with plenty of tomato sauce. Dinner is gonna be awesome.

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells in the pan

I keep trying to come up with something to write about, but I’m just so tired. Is it possible to have bad news fatigue? Sometimes I think I just want to turn off NPR and BBC News and sequester myself in a world full of Coen Brothers comedies, Parks and Recreation reruns, and an endless loop of Billy Joel songs. What could go wrong?

Friends, how are you coping with the world these days? How are you finding joy in the midst of all the chaos? How are we finding ways to support each other when it feels like the world is just too much to bear? If your load is too heavy, ask yourself this. What would happen if I just set this down for a minute? Would it really all come crumbling down? Or maybe could we take a rest, just for a moment? It can’t hurt to try.

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells on a spoon

What makes this recipe so awesome?

If you want to escape to the kitchen for a bit, I’d recommend these Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells. This dish is great to feed a bigger family, even though I’ve halved Nigella’s original recipe from her book Nigella Summer. With a little garlic bread and a side salad, this could easily feed six people.

There are lots of different flavors and textures going on here. The earthiness of the spinach, the creaminess of the ricotta, and the sweetness of the tomato sauce all blend seamlessly. And I don’t mind at all that this takes a little longer to make. It’s not hard at all, just time consuming. If you want to get some help in the kitchen to get those pasta shells stuffed, I think that could be a lot of fun.

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells on a plate

How to make Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

There are a few different components to this recipe. We have to cook the pasta shells. Make sure they’re still al dente when you drain them. If they’re already quite soft, they’ll be mush by the time they come out of the oven. You want them to hold their shape when you serve them, so go easy. You’ll also need to let them cool a bit so you don’t burn your fingers handling them for when we get to the stuffing.

We’re also making a simple tomato sauce with passata (canned tomato sauce for US readers) onion, and garlic. Nothing fancy. The final component is the filling of chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and an egg to hold it all together. I used frozen spinach for this. Just make sure you’ve squeezed out as much water as possible.

To bring it all together, we stuff a spoonful of the ricotta mixture into each of the pasta shells and add them to a baking dish. Once all the filling or pasta is gone, whichever you run out of first, simply pour over the tomato sauce, add a little extra parmesan, and bake it in the oven. All the details are in the recipe card below.

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells on a plate

No matter what’s happening in the world, dinner never stops. We might as well make it as awesome as possible. Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells is a great place to start.

Looking for more easy meatless pasta recipes? Try this Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese.

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Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells on a spoon

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells are easy, cheesy, and delicious. Giant pasta shells are filled with a creamy spinach and ricotta mixture then baked with plenty of tomato sauce.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Ingredients

Scale
  • 250 grams large pasta shells
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 700 grams tomato passata or tomato sauce
  • 500 grams frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 250 grams ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50 grams grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F) and put a large pot of water on to boil. Also, get out the casserole or baking dish you’ll use later, and spray it with some non-stick spray if you have it to make clean up a little easier. 
  2. Once your water is boiling, add salt and cook your pasta for about five minutes. It will continue to soften up in the oven.You want your shells to be just cooked but still firm. Drain and let them cool a bit so you can handle them without burning yourself.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the garlic and onions for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the passata or tomato sauce. Refill the bottle or can about halfway, making sure to pick up any residual sauce, then add that to the pan as well. Bring the sauce up to a bubble, then lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. I like to pop a lid on just to stop it from splattering.
  4. While everything else is cooking on the stove, add your drained spinach, ricotta cheese, beaten egg, and most of your Parmesan cheese to a mixing bowl. Keep a little Parmesan for sprinkling over the top. Also add in a pinch of nutmeg and some salt and pepper. Mix this all up until thoroughly combined.
  5. Once all your components are ready, you can start assembling. I use just a regular spoon like you’d use to eat your morning cereal. Get a heaped spoonful of your ricotta mixture, and scoop some into each pasta shell. This is going to be messy. Just embrace it. Keep stuffing until you’ve run out of either filling or pasta. If you’re very lucky, they’ll match up perfectly, but don’t sweat it if they don’t. Add each filled pasta shell to a casserole dish. You want them to fit fairly snugy.
  6. Carefully pour your tomato sauce over your stuffed shells and sprinkle on your remaining Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or unti the pasta sauce is bubbling and your shells are cooked through. To check the pasta, slide a sharp knife into one of your shells. It should slide through easily. Allow this to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Keywords: Spinach, Ricotta, Pasta

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