- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (18 to 20 shells)
- 2 cups finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 pound ground veal
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Essence
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Basic Red Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pasta shells, and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a long-handled spoon to prevent the shells from sticking together. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain.
- In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until very soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the ground veal and cook, stirring, until cooked and browned. Add the squeezed spinach and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add the spinach mixture, the extra-virgin olive oil, Essence, remaining teaspoon of salt, the basil, oregano, and pepper, and stir to combine thoroughly. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the spinach-ricotta filling into each cooked pasta shell. Place the filled shells in the prepared dish.
- Pour the Basic Red Sauce over the filled shells and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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Basic Red Sauce