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Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
with Italian house salad

Active: 45 Total: 60

We use store-bought marinara sauce in this cozy casserole-style meal so that you can focus on stuffing the shells. Don't worry if they don't look perfect - they'll still taste delicious!
Smarts: Assembling the stuffed shells takes some time but they can easily be assembled in a baking dish up to 2 days ahead and baked whenever you're ready. If baking straight from the refrigerator, they may need to bake, covered, for about 10 minutes more than the time listed. 

Tags
Proteins
Cuisines

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells:
  • Pasta, jumbo shells - 16 (for stuffing)
  • Parchment paper - for cooling
  • Frozen chopped spinach - 8 oz, defrosted
  • Parsley - 1 Tbsp, chopped
  • Cheese, mozzarella - 1 cup, shredded (look for pre-shredded to save time)
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
  • Artichoke hearts - 6, drained and chopped
  • Cheese, ricotta - 1 cup
  • Eggs - 1
  • Marinara sauce, store-bought (16 oz / 454 g) - 1 jar
  • Foil - for baking
  • Cheese, parmesan - 1/4 cup, grated
Italian House Salad:
  • Tomatoes, grape or cherry - 1 cup, halved
  • Lettuce, romaine - 1 heart, chopped
  • Olives, black and sliced (2.25 oz / 63 g) - 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • Vinegar, red wine - 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Mustard, Dijon - 1/2 tsp
  • Oregano, dried - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, olive - 2 1/2 Tbsp

Nutrition Facts

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Prep

  1. Cook shells - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Boil pasta shells according to package directions. Be sure to use a very large pot of water to prevent the shells from sticking. Season the water generously with some salt. When the shells are done cooking, drain well and then spread out on a parchment-lined sheet pan in a single layer (this will help prevent sticking). (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  2. Spinach - Defrost spinach. Transfer to a colander and drain well, pressing down to remove as much water as possible. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Parsley / Mozzarella cheese (if not pre-shredded) / Garlic / Artichoke hearts - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  4. Make filling - Combine spinach, mozzarella cheese, garlic, artichoke hearts, ricotta, and egg until even. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)

  5. Fill shells - Pour marinara sauce into an 8x8 square baker (you can use any similarly-sized baking dish; this is for 4 servings, adjust if customizing). Working with one pasta shell at a time, spoon in filling. Nestle the filled shells, open-side facing up, in marinara sauce. When all of the shells are filled and placed in the dish, cover it tightly with foil. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)

  6. Tomatoes / Lettuce / Olives - Prep as directed and combine.

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Make

  1. Heat oven to 400F / 204C.

  2. Transfer stuffed shells to heated oven. Bake, covered with foil, for 25 minutes.

  3. Remove foil and grate parmesan cheese over shells. Return shells to oven and bake, uncovered, until cheese is slightly melted, 5 to 10 minutes more.

  4. In a large salad bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, oregano, and some salt and pepper. Add olive oil while whisking. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, and olives. Wait to toss until right before serving.

  5. Sprinkle parsley over stuffed shells.

  6. Serve stuffed shells with salad on the side. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

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Reviews

Ratings

Original (62)
Gluten-free (3)
Paleo (4)
Vegetarian (11)

Most Helpful

This was our favorite recipe ever. I did make one adjustment...I made manicotti. WAY easier to fill. You put the filling in a plastic bag and cut off one corner. Then you can pipe the filling into the tubes. This recipe made 6 manicotti which was perfect for us and gave me lunch leftovers. I also added a little nutmeg to the filling. It was perfect. Thank you for a keeper!

By: Ann
Posted: Dec 20, 2021
Diet: Original
2 Helpful

39 reviews

Quite delicious! We used manicotti. The kind we bought said you didn't have to bake, just put it right in oven, but I boiled them anyway for about 8 minutes - I think I could've done less because some of them started to lose their shape. Next time I would maybe do 6 min? Then just used a spoon/fingers to stuff with the mixture.

By: Caitlin
Posted: Oct 24, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

My grocer did not have the jumbo shells so I did as another suggested and used Manicotti - so good. Next time though I think I may add some spices to the filling. Definitely a repeat meal.

By: Tamara
Posted: Oct 23, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

kids loved it!

By: Meredith
Posted: Mar 27, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

This does take a bit more prep than the average Cooksmarts meal, but it was so, so tasty - I’ll definitely make it again! (Agree with the other commenters that jumbo shells are really hard to track down though!)

By: Melissa
Posted: Jan 29, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I doubled to freeze. I felt like the artichokes overwhelmed it. I’d increase the spinach and decrease the artichokes.

By: Twyla
Posted: Jan 15, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

really yummy. It does take a bit more work than many other CS recipes, but I intentionally made it on a Sunday. Next time I would probably just use a bottle salad dressing. Based on other reviews, I added a few other spices to the ricotta filling. The jumbo shells did seem small, so I boiled extra. (12 for 2 people) I had enough filling for all of them, so now we have a nice leftover lunch for someone.

By: Johanna
Posted: Jan 11, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful