Spinach-stuffed Shells

Believe it or not, sometimes I really do eat foods with primary ingredients other than sugar, vanilla, flour and eggs. While dessert is most often my favorite meal, when I looked back at my Monday posts, I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t include brown sugar (which I promise I do not intentionally include to show off my lovely heart-shaped measuring cups). I decided to shake things up a bit and share with you one of my other guilty pleasures: stuffed shells.

Being raised sicilian, my love of cheese developed fairly early in life. Add to that my obvious love of pasta, and you can understand why cheese-filled pastas rank among my favorite dinner foods. I tried making stuffed shells once before, but failed at making my own Alfredo sauce to top them off with. That turned me off on shells for a while, but after I found this super easy recipe that called for a can of pre-made sauce, I was pretty sure I could handle it. 

Not that these are by any means healthier that most of my desserts that I love to share, but at least it’s a little something savory to off-set the usual sweetness of Mondays! Now, I have to apologize because I wasn’t planning on writing about this recipe, so I don’t have all the step-by-step photos (I suck!), but they just turned out so delicious that I had to share! I hope you understand.

Spinach-Stuffed Shells
Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens’ New Cook Book

12 dried jumbo pasta shells
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 eggs
1 8-ounce package shredded Italian cheese blend (2 cups)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 26- to 32-ounce jar pasta sauce

 Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain. Rinse pasta with cold water; drain again. Set aside. I set my shells out on a cooling rack to keep them from sticking together. Meanwhile, drain the thawed spinach well, pressing out excess liquid. (To do this, I unwrapped the spinach and let it sit in a strainer in the sink for about an hour, occasionally pressing out the extra liquid.) 

For the filling, beat eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in spinach, 1 1/2 cups of the Italian cheese and the ricotta cheese. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling into each jumbo shell. I found that using a cookie scoop, like the one below, is perfect for stuffing the shells! 

Pour posta sauce over the shells. (Finally — a photo!)

Bake, covered, in a 350º over for about 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Italian cheese before serving. Serve with garlic bread and your favorite Goose Island brew.

Bon Appetit!

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