Recipe

Super Stuffed Shells

  • Yield: 18 to 20 stuffed shells, serving about 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (18ñ20 shells)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Baby Bam
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Best Basic Red Sauce or
  • store-bought pasta sauce

Directions

  • Make sure the oven rack is in the center position and preheat the oven to 350?F.
  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pasta shells to the water. Cook until the shells are tender yet still firm (this is called ìal denteî), about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a long-handled fork or spoon to prevent the shells from sticking together.
  • Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the pot from the heat and drain the shells in a colander set in the sink, pouring away from you. Rinse under cold running water, shake gently, and set aside to drain.
  • Working over a large mixing bowl or the sink, squeeze the spinach in your hands to remove any excess liquid, then set it aside. (If your hands are small, you may need to do this in batches.)
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 7 minutes. Add the squeezed spinach and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, use a large spoon to stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add the spinach mixture, the extra-virgin olive oil, Baby Bam, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, the basil, oregano, and pepper, and stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the spinach-ricotta filling into each cooked pasta shell. Place the filled shells in the greased casserole dish.
  • Pour the Best Basic Red Sauce or pasta sauce over the filled shells and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  • Using the mitts or pot holders, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.