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Category: Mains

Pasta Shells With Ricotta-Spinach Filling and Fresh Basil

Pasta Shells With Ricotta-Spinach Filling and Fresh Basil
Los Angeles Times

When friends come over and you find yourself the cook, you don't want to get stuck at the stove. You'd rather be chatting and enjoying the fun. Easy-to-serve do-ahead food that can be put out buffet-style is just the ticket. ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Serves 4
Note: The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Cook all 20 shells, even though you will be using only 16. Some inevitably fall apart during stuffing.
  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • Salt
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups pasta sauce such as marinara, mushroom or meat sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves

Step 1Cook pasta shells in plenty of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, 12 to 15 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain.

Step 2Chop spinach in food processor. Transfer to bowl and stir in Romano cheese, garlic, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Add ricotta and mix well.

Step 3Gently toss pasta shells in oil. Put 2 slightly rounded tablespoons of cheese-spinach mixture in each of 16 pasta shells. Close shells, slightly overlapping 1 side of each.

Step 4Spread 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce evenly in bottom of 13x9-inch shallow baking dish. Arrange shells, rounded side down, in single layer over sauce. Spoon remaining 1/2 cup sauce evenly over shells. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over sauce. Cover with foil. (If made ahead, bring to room temperature before baking.)

Step 5Bake covered at 350 degrees until sizzling, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot.

Each serving:
741 calories; 1,579 mg sodium; 147 mg cholesterol; 36 grams fat; 62 grams carbohydrates; 41 grams protein; 0.33 gram fiber.
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