Friday, May 16, 2008

Jen's Stuffed Shells

"I love stuffed shells. I don't have them as much as other italian food because my kids are not crazy about ricotta cheese or spinach. If you don't over-fill the shells, there is enough ricotta mixture for all of the shells. It doesn't, however, fit into a 13x9 dish. I would recommend either using two square 8x8's or 9x9's, or getting a large disposable pan. This picture is not so great."


1 12 oz box jumbo shell pasta, prepared as directed on box (I use barilla brand)
1 jar spaghetti/marinara sauce
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded mozerella


1 30 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (grated is fine, but use 1/4 cup instead)
1/4 cup cream (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
16 oz. frozen spinach cooked and drained (see tip below)
1/4 cup italian flavored bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all of the "filling" ingredients in large bowl. Put 1/3 of jar of sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. Put mixture into shells* and place in dish. Add the remainder of sauce to top of shells and top with shredded mozerella. Spray large piece of foil with cooking spray, so cheese doesn't stick, and cover dish. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Remove for and bake for additional 10 minutes.

Serves 6-8

*tip #1 I like to buy a frozen bag of spinach instead of the box. I put the bag, unopened on a plate and microwave it for 4 minutes. I then cut a small hole in the corner of the bag, and squeeze the liquid out. I used to use paper towels to wring it out, but this is so much less wastefull.

tip #2 You can cut the corner off of a ziplock bag (don't zip the bag) and put filling inside to use like a pastry bag to fill (squirt into) saves mess. I prefer to use a quart size freezer bag

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