Thursday, March 13, 2014

spinach & three cheese stuffed shells



Another one of my New Year's resolutions is to add more delicious and satisfying vegetarian dishes to my recipe binder, making it easier for me to plan and prepare meals for our vegetarian friends.

I've been sampling and tweaking vegetarian dishes for several weeks now, and hope to share many of them with you throughout the year. Some are simple dishes like this baked egg dish with spicy sweet potatoes, black beans, manchego and goat cheese, and others are like this one.

We are so blessed to live in Southern California where we have access to abundant Farmer's Markets year round, so it's not difficult to add beautiful salads and vegetable side dishes to a main course . . . but I was in need of more hearty vegetarian main dishes.

It's easy to create pasta dishes with savory red or cream sauces and roasted vegetables, but I thought it would be nice to also have more tailored dishes . . . you know, for special occasions.




One of the new dishes that made it into my binder is spinach and three cheese stuffed shells. Instead of baking them in a large 9 x 13" dish, I bake them in individual ramekins. There's something special about eating from your very own pretty dish.





I love this recipe. It's easy to prepare . . . and delicious. You can serve it family style in a large baking dish . . . or fancy it up, and serve it ramekins. I like to serve these beautiful shells alongside a salad and fresh bread. It's hearty, yet light . . .  which is great, especially if you plan on serving dessert too.





Here's what you'll need . . .
16 jumbo shells (from a 12-oz box)
2 cups marinara sauce (or your favorite red sauce)
1 10-ounce package of frozen leaf spinach, thawed
1  15-ounce container of part-skim ricotta
2  ounces Parmesan, grated (about 1/2 cup)
8  ounces part-skim mozzarella, grated (about 2 cups)
1 egg
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed (optional)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
Spread the sauce onto the bottom of a large broiler-proof baking dish.
Squeeze the spinach of excess moisture, roughly chop and place in a large bowl.
Stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, 1 cup of the mozzarella, egg, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells (about 1/4 cup each) and place on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella (or more, if you like) and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Bake until the shells are heated through, 10 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until the cheese begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley, Enjoy!








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21 comments:

  1. That sounds delicious! I would love it if you could share it at my Tasty Tuesday party!
    http://www.thecomfortsofhome.blogspot.com/2014/03/tasty-tuesday-3.html

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  2. Glad to find this great recipe at Penny's Tasty Tuesday party - sounds and looks awesome (great photos). I'm a non-meat eater of 30+ years so always looking for good things with protein, and admit I'm a cheese-aholic, so this one is definitely going to be rustled up soon in my kitchen!

    Thanks for sharing - enjoy your day Suzanne.
    Mary

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mary, Thanks so much for coming by!
      I'll have to visit your site to get great recipes!
      Have a great week,
      Suzanne

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  3. Great recipe. Anything with pasta is fine in my book. My favorite marinara sauce in Rao's. Enjoyed visiting you from Penny's Tasty Tuesday party.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Penny! I agree :0)
      I hope you get the chance to try this recipe with Rao's. Enjoy!
      Have a great week,
      Suzanne

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  4. Looks delicious and can't wait to try this recipe. Where did you get those darling ramekins?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, Thanks so much for coming by!
      The ramekins are by CorningWare, from the French White stoneware collection. I found them at a specialty cooking store while vacationing in Colorado last year. I'm sure you could find them online.
      Have a great week,
      Suzanne

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  5. I love reading that you are adding vegetarian dishes to your recipe binder (and that you will be sharing them) as I've been working to decrease my meat intake due to health reasons.
    This dish looks yummy, but then I am a big fan of spinach and cheese....
    I also really like the individual ramekins, they really do add something special to the meal.
    Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ricki!
      So happy you came by!
      My husband and I don't eat much meat. We love fish and eat it as often as possible. I'm always amazed/impressed at the number of friends that we have who are vegetarian for health (or religious) reasons, so it will make my life easier having a vegetarian recipe binder. This is new for me, but I'm excited. These stuffed shells are so easy to make. I think you'll enjoy them too.
      Have a beautiful day,
      Suzanne

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  6. Looks amazing! Thanks for linking up!

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  7. Stuffed shells makes everyone happy. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us on foodie friday.

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    1. Thanks, Diane!
      Have a beautiful week,
      Suzanne

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  8. Oh, I love stuffed shells! Especially delicious with spinach. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jann! I totally agree :0)
      As always, so happy when you come by!
      Have a great week,
      Suzanne

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  9. I am in love with your presentation of these! The individual ramekins would help portion control too, and leave you just satisfied. The shells look delicious. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Adelina!
      I use ramekins whenever we have guests. They can make such humble meals feel special . . . and yes, they do help aid with portion control . . . always leaving room for dessert ;0)
      Have a great week,
      Suzanne

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  10. this sounds absolutely divine! I'm saving this recipe! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

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  11. Hi Suzanne,

    I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I loved the stuffed shells so much that I'm featuring you on The Sunday Faviourates. Please feel free to stop by and grab a button
    http://simplysuzannes.blogspot.ca/2014/03/spinach-three-cheese-stuffed-shells.html

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  12. My boyfriend and I love stuffed shells. These look delightful!

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  13. I've been trying to find some great tasting vegetarian meals and this would be perfect! I love to eat meat but it really does cost a lot. Pinning this frugal recipe! Thanks for sharing at the Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop!

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  14. Looks great, I like how you served them in their own individual portions. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again this weekend!

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