I meant to post this last week but time keeps getting away from me. I hope that with the holiday weekend behind us and only 2 more weeks of school life will start to slow down a bit. Anyone else feeling the same way? Everything seems to hit all at once?
From mid-April to mid-May we have three birthdays in our house. A special treat is that every birthday you get to choose what you want for dinner and dessert. Usually my daughter who had a birthday the other day would choose a German dinner and an ice cream cake. This year since that was what her brother choose two weeks ago she decided to be different and asked for Stuffed Shells with Spinach, Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction and a Lemon-Blueberry Cake. If I had to choose a meal for her other than German food this is what I would choose that best represents her tastes.
I made this with a simple homemade tomato sauce and it was delicious! My family said it was better than the little Italian joint in town. It was a perfect blend of cheesy and the bit of extra cheese and sauce over the top made it divine.
Serve this with a nice salad and garlic bread to complete the meal.
Stuffed Shells with Spinach
- 1 pound baby spinach, rinsed, stemmed and washed thoroughly
- Salt to taste
- 12 ounces giant pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 egg, beaten
- 8 oz mozzarella, shredded
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 2 ounces Parmesan, grated about 1/2 cup
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce, preferably homemade
- fresh basil leaves for topping, if desired
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Fill a bowl with ice water. Blanch the spinach just until wilted, and transfer to the ice water, then drain. Squeeze out excess water with paper towels. Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and add the pasta shells. Cook al dente, and drain pasta and toss with the olive oil. Set aside.
- Chop the spinach until finely chopped. Add the ricotta, garlic, spinach and the eggs and mix until well blended. Add 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 the Mozzarella, the chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a large baking dish or two 2-quart dishes. The shells should fit into the dish in one layer. Fill each shell with cheese mixture. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish. Top with the tomato sauce and cover the dish with foil.
- Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove pan from the oven and remove foil. Sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan, and Mozzarella. Return pan to oven under broil for 1-3 minutes until melted and browned. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes.