Stuffed Shells


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Stuffed shells are a great meal to prepare in advance when you have company or for family time.  It is time to take your life back from pursuing your passion, bonding with your family, and developing yourself as a person.   I use to make Stuffed Shells at least twice a month when the kids were little.  Nothing stays the same.

The prep time is 15 to 20 minutes, 4 to 5 servings.

Serve with a Greek salad.

Stuffed Shells with ricotta cheese, Halloumi cheese and basil leaves.

Ingredients

14 to 16 jumbo pasta shells, cook a couple of extra shells to allow for a few breaking while the pasta cooks)
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh garlic or onion, minced (optional)
4 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves, chopped or frozen spinach
12 oz skim-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella cheese or I cup shredded Halloumi cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and more for serving
1 large egg
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Jar of Rao’s Marinara or homemade sauce
1/2 cup of water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Boil the jumbo shells abut 9 minutes according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.  This will let the shells be just tender enough to stuff without being so soft that they fall apart.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic or minced onions and cook until it begins to brown, about a minute or two. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt but are still green and reduced by half, then remove from the heat and let cool or use a package of frozen spinach.

In a mixing bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, mozzarella or halloumi cheese, Parmesan, egg, basil, spinach and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined.  Pour 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a shallow 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish.  Stuff each pasta shell with a generous amount of the spinach and ricotta mixture, and place in the baking dish.

Cover with the remaining sauce, I usually add a small amount of water in the jar. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on the prepared shells. Covered with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking until the top begins to brown and the sauce begins the bubble, another 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm with Parmesan or halloumi cheese.  Instruction is also in the box.

You can also cover it with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

Serve with a Greek salad and a glass of red wine, your choice.

Cheers!