I enjoy eating stuffed shells. I don’t like to make them, but they are always worth the effort. I usually stuff them with ricotta, spinach, and spices, but my husband doesn’t really like ricotta all that much. This time around I went with half mozzarella and half ricotta, and added in some onions and garlic for good measure.
The result was a softer, cheesier filling. The spinach, onions, and garlic did their part to flavor the cheeses as well. It was really tasty, especially with all the spices I added to the mixture. The best part was that my husband, his friend, and I all ate the shells for dinner and I still had 20 left to freeze for another meal. This recipe easily makes enough for 6 adults.
Stuffed Shells (a Hezzi-D original)
1 box (12 oz) large shells-about 40 shells
1 T. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced 1 medium onion, chopped 1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach 2 ½ c. part skim ricotta cheese (we used Maggio) 2 c. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded 1 t. pepper 1 t. salt 2 t. Italian seasonings 4 c. marinara sauce Parmesan cheese Chopped basil 1. Cook the shells according to the package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Pour 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan and place the shells on top of the sauce. (I put half the shells in a baking pan and the other on a baking sheet to freeze.)
2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Then add in the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
3. Defrost the spinach and squeeze the moisture from it. In a large bowl combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Mix until well combine. Add in the warm garlic and onion mixture and stir. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Mix well.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
5. Begin filling the shells with 1-2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. If there is any leftover put into shells that need more.
6. Top the shells with 3 cups of marinara sauce, enough to fill the bottom of the baking dish as well as on top of the shells. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese and chopped basil.
**If freezing shells, place them in the freezer on the cookie sheet for 3-4 hours. Remove from freezer and transfer the frozen shells to a freeze baggie. These freeze nicely for up to 6 months.**