Monday, December 27, 2010
Stuffed Pasta Shells for Meatless Monday AND Christmas Eve Dinner
My daughter and son-in-law hosted Christmas Eve dinner at their house this year. As you can see by the photo above, the table was elegant and festive. You will have to take my word for the dinner -- but it was absolutely delicious! Katie served magnificent jumbo pasta shells stuffed to bursting with cheesy filling, along with a tossed salad and garlic bread, and spumoni ice cream for dessert. Baked and bubbly, the shells were a comfort-food classic. Be sure you cook an entire box, since some will break as they boil. You should also know the shells freeze beautifully.
Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
32 jumbo pasta shells
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
5 cups spaghetti sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, gently place pasta shells in boiling water; bring water back to boil. Cook until noodles are just tender; drain well.
3. Squeeze spinach dry. Combine spinach, ricotta, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, basil and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper; mix well.
4. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
5. Fill each pasta shell with the spinach cheese mixture. Arrange the shells, filling side up in the baking dish. Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the shells. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the shells.
6. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven until heated through; about 30 minutes.