Updated 04/13/2012 05:00 AM
Recipe: Baked Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Shells
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one 1-pound box jumbo pasta shells
one 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and water squeezed out)
8-ounces grated mozzarella cheese (some reserved for finishing top)
one 15-ounce tub ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for finishing)
1 large egg
black pepper to taste
approx. 2-3 cups marinara or more as needed (thinned with a little water for baking)
Plan ahead and defrost one 10-ounce box of frozen chopped spinach, and squeeze all of the water out of it. Also boil one 1-pound box of jumbo shells according to directions.
While the pasta shells are cooking along preheat the oven to 350 degrees and also use a large mixing bowl to combine the chopped spinach with most of a 8-ounce bag of grated mozzarella cheese, one 15-ounce tub ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 large egg and a good crack of black pepper, and mix it up.
Once the shells are done, drain them really well, but don't run any cold water over them. Then add them back to the empty pot and add a little olive oil to help keep them from sticking together.
Once the shells are cool enough to handle, thin out the marinara sauce with a little water and spread a good layer of that into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and then use a spoon to scoop the cheese mixture into each shell, placing them into the baking dish as you go.
Then spoon a little more marinara over the top, add the rest of the grated mozzarella cheese, add a little grated parmesan cheese and then tightly seal it with a sheet of aluminum foil and place it onto the center rack of the preheated oven.
Let it go for 30 minutes or so like that and then remove the aluminum foil and let it go another 10 minutes or so to brown the top.
Not rinsing the pasta shells after cooking allows them to retain more flavor.
You won't end up using all of the cooked shells.