أصداف المعكرونة المحشوة
Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and spinach, topped with marinara and cheese and baked until tender. A crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner!
My family and I absolutely love baked pasta dishes and stuffed shells are one of our favourites. These jumbo shells are loaded with cheese, three types to be exact: mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan. All that cheesy and carby goodness makes this dish the ultimate comfort food.
This impressive dinner looks time-consuming, but it can be made in under an hour. It is popular with kids and is a crowd-pleaser at every dinner or potluck where I've served it.
What are stuffed shells?
This dish is similar to Italian cannelloni and manicotti. Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with spinach and three different cheeses and baked to perfection! Unlike the tubes of manicotti and cannelloni, the stuffed shells hold an amount of filling that is similar in size to an egg.
Jumbo pasta shells: You can find jumbo pasta shells in the pasta aisle of most large grocery stores. You may have to go to a large supermarket or an Italian market to find pasta shells.
Spinach: I use fresh spinach for this recipe, but you can use thawed and drained frozen spinach if you like.
Ricotta: Use full-fat ricotta cheese for that creamy, luxurious texture.
Mozzarella: Shredded mozzarella cheese goes into the filling and on top of the filled and arranged shells.
Parmesan: Freshly grated is always better! You can use any block of Parmesan or Parmesan blend you like, but never use the powdered kind.
Basil leaves: Fresh basil adds a wonderful flavour and aroma to the shells. You can even sprinkle some finely chopped fresh basil on top once the dish comes out of the oven.
Egg: You'll need one egg to help bind the filling together and ensure the filling doesn't ooze out of the shells.
Garlic: Always use fresh garlic.
Marinara sauce: Choose a high-quality marinara sauce, as we're going to use plenty of it. I like to use Classico or President's Choice.
Salt: Use salt sparingly as all the cheeses and the marinara sauce are already salted.
The filling is simple and easily customizable. While I listed all the ingredients above, if you're missing one or two of them, you can supplement them with something else. If you only have cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese, go ahead and use that. If you have any extra veggies you want to use up, such as carrots or bell peppers, dice them, sauté and toss them into the filling!
How to make stuffed shells
- Cook the pasta shells in a big pot of water. Cook until just before al dente and then set aside to cool slightly.
- Prepare the filling. Sauté the garlic for two minutes. Add spinach and sauté until just wilted. Combine all filling ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Pour half the marinara sauce into a baking dish.
- Stuff the shells with the cheese and spinach filling. Arrange them in the dish, nestling them into the sauce.
- Cover shells with remaining sauce, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.
How to stuff the shells
There are two ways to stuff the shells. You can use a spoon and simply scoop the filling into the shells. It will take about ten minutes to fill all the shells.
You can also use a piping bag, which is far quicker and less messy. Scoop all the filling into a large pastry bag and pipe into the shells.
Tips for the perfect pasta dish
- Use a big enough pot to boil the pasta in, as the pasta shells will double in size once cooked.
- Undercook your pasta shells by 1-2 minutes because they will continue to cook in the oven. Undercooking them also allows them to retain some firmness and makes them less likely to tear while stuffing.
- I prefer to use full-fat cheeses, but you can switch to low-fat if you like.
- If you want to save time, you can purchase shredded cheese that comes in a bag. However, make sure you buy a high quality cheese that will melt evenly upon baking. Some cheaper varieties use too much anti-caking powders in their cheese that prevent them from melting nicely. I like to use President's Choice.
- Choose a high-quality marinara sauce. I like to use Classico or President's Choice.
- Be generous with the marinara sauce. Baked pasta needs more sauce than unbaked pasta, as some of it gets soaked up by the pasta in the oven and some of it evaporates in the heat.
You can make this this a couple days ahead of when you plan to serve it. Follow the recipe directions right after assembly but before baking. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. On the day you want to serve it, take it out of the fridge as you're preheating your oven. Bake as instructed in the recipe, garnish and serve.
How to serve
This rich, creamy dish pairs well with light and bright side dishes and salads. Check out the list below for a list of sides I've paired this with:
It would be very difficult to stuff the smaller pasta shells, so I recommend making a basic pasta bake by tossing all the ingredients together before baking.
You can easily make this dish vegan by using vegan cheese in place of the mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
I loved baked pasta dishes that are topped with a thin layer of breadcrumbs;
Absolutely! In fact, if I'm making this for guests, I always prepare it the day before and bake it right before their arrival.
You can easily reheat this in the microwave.
You can use drained and mashed cottage cheese.
Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 18 pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups spinach leaves fresh, roughly-chopped
- 12 oz ricotta cheese
- 1½ cups mozzarella cheese shredded, divided into 1 cup and ½ cup.
- ½ Parmesan cheese grated, plus more for garnish
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon basil fresh, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Cook the pasta until just before al dente and set aside to cool slightly.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add spinach and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, until the leaves have wilted but have not fully cooked. Set aside.
- Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Stuff each pasta shell with a generous amount of the spinach and ricotta mixture, and place in the baking dish, nestling them into the sauce.
- Cover with marinara sauce, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
أصداف المعكرونة المحشوة
- 18 من أصداف المعكرونة
- 1 ملعقة كبيرة زيت زيتون
- 2 فص ثوم طازج مفروم
- 4 أكواب من أوراق السبانخ الطازجة المقطعة بالسكين
- 12 أوقية من جبن الريكوتا
- 1 كوب جبن موزاريلا مبشور
- ½ كوب جبن بارميزان مبشور، بالإضافة إلى المزيد للتزيين
- 1 بيضة
- 1 ملعقة كبيرة ريحان طازج مفروم ناعم
- 1 ملعقة صغيرة ملح
- نصف ملعقة صغيرة فلفل
- 2 كوب صلصة مارينارا
- سخن الفرن إلى 375 درجة فهرنهايت. تُطهى المعكرونة وتُترك جانباً.
- سخن مقلاة على نار متوسطة وأضف الزيت. يضاف الثوم ويحرك لمدة دقيقتين. تضاف السبانخ وتحرك لمدة 3-4 دقائق حتى تذبل الأوراق فقط دون أن تنضج تمامًا ثم نضع ذلك جانبا.
- صب 1 كوب من صلصة المارينارا في صينية الخبز.
- في وعاء، اخلط السبانخ، والريكوتا، والموزاريلا، والبارميزان، والبيض، والريحان، والملح، والفلفل معًا حتى تمتزج المكونات جيدًا. قم بحشو أصداف المعكرونة بكمية وفيرة من خليط السبانخ والريكوتا ثم ضعها في طبق الخبز.
- تغطى بصلصة المارينارا ثم تخبز في الفرن لمدة 20 دقيقة. تزيّن بجبنة البارميزان وتقدّم.