Messy. Cheesy. Melty. Delicious.
I don’t stuff shells. Not on weeknights, at least. I find the smaller ones, and smother them in cheese, spinach, and sauce.
Smothered Shells With Ricotta and Spinach
1 1/2 cups (dry) medium pasta shells
1 cup heavy red sauce, or your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
8 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese (for topping)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Boil water in a medium saucepan, and cook the shells according to the directions on the box. Aim for slightly al dente pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, mix the spinach, ricotta, and spices into a delicious cheesy paste.
Drain the pasta, and transfer to a medium-sized casserole dish. Toss with olive oil. I used a 1 1/2qt dish, and it was pretty much spot on. Spoon the cheese/spinach mixture on top of the shells, and gently mix. Cover with tomato sauce, and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Slide the shells into the oven, and bake until the cheese on top is melted. This took about 20 minutes in my oven, but I’d check up on it after 15 minutes.
Basically? These are like a low-maintenance, weeknight version of vegetarian stuffed shells.