This recipe for classic stuffed shells is a great meal idea for any occasion. With a creamy, rich and delicious ricotta cheese and spinach mixture to load into the shells, covered with your favorite marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, this dish is a winner for sure.
Many people are afraid to make stuffed shells and worry that it’s too much work. I promise that’s not the case at all. We start with jumbo shells and boil them according to the package directions – about 9 minutes. The recipe calls for 16 shells but I usually make a few extra in case any break apart.
While the shells are boiling, you can start on the spinach and ricotta mix. You can use frozen spinach but I really love to use fresh spinach. It had a flavor and texture that is just so good. And a bunch of fresh spinach is usually about a dollar or so. I use 4 cups of loosely packed spinach. There’s really no right or wrong amount, but 4 cups sautees down to the perfect amount. Chop up the spinach just a bit, and put it in a pan on the stovetop with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. In 2-3 minutes it will be cooked down to perfectly. Then stir it into the ricotta mix.
Prepare a 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish by spraying with some non-stick cooking spray and pour enough sauce in to coat the bottom. Set aside.
Once the shells are cooked, drain and let cool for a minute before handling. When cooled off a bit, you’ll spoon the ricotta mix into each shell. It usually takes 2 teaspoons each – just enough to fill most of the shell. Then place the shell in the baking dish. Once all the shells are in the baking dish, cover with remaining sauce and shredded cheese and into the oven they go.
- 16 jumbo shells (plus a couple extra)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese - shredded
- 12oz ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese - grated
- 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 egg
- 24oz jar pasta sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Boil 16-18 shells for 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Add olive oil to a pan over medium meat and saute chopped fresh spinach for 2-4 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and spinach. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Spray a 13'' x 9" glass baking dish with cooking spray and pour in half the pasta sauce.
- Spoon ricotta mix into each shell and place into baking dish, (opening side up). Should be 1-2 teaspoons each.
- Cover shells with remaining pasta sauce and top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes.