Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grandma's coming to dinner, or spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

My grandmother was recently visiting the PNW from FL and we were hosting her for dinner. Mr. Snowgoose wanted to make dessert (buttermilk cake with blackberry/cream cheese frosting) and I needed to make something equally impressive.

I also hadn't made stuffed shells in ages. Now I remember why: I had to visit 4 grocery stores to find jumbo shells.

But the following recipe is ridicuously simple and is a perfect vegetarian meal. From the May 2010 issue of Real Simple.

Note: I used a whole 12 oz box of shells, and 36 oz marinara sauce (1 1/2 jars) and still had extra filling.

Ingredients

20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
2 15-ounce containers ricotta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)
green salad (optional)

Directions
1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and run under cold water until cool.
2. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.
3. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve with the salad, if desired.

Note: the recipe called for me to broil the shells for 2-5 minutes at the end but I declined to do so.

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