This was one of the last dishes that I photographed before the move, so it will be the last recipe post with photos taken from a maximum 2 feet away because I had no room in my kitchen. Watch out world – wide shots are coming soon!
Even though this was one of the last recipes I made in my LA apartment, it is also possibly the first dish I’ll make in the new home. These shells are simple to make and great comfort food during the winter months. If you have a couple of casserole pans to spare I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing some shells for later use; they should be fine in the freezer for at least a month. There are few things better than coming home after a long day, dreading the thought of cooking and then remembering you have some delicious pasta shells waiting for you to just throw them in the oven.
And in case you were wondering – no, we’re not in our new home yet. Our fingers are crossed that we’ll finally be moving in tomorrow and Chase and I will be able to resume an activity that has been missing from our lives for far too long:
Did you think I was going to say something else? Get your mind out of the gutter, I would never admit to such things. Especially since it would just invite more questions about when we are going to have children. (If anyone asks me one more time I’m going to be like, NEVER. We are NEVER having kids because I’m tired of you asking and that’s what YOU GET.)
At any rate, anyone that is living at home with their own kitchen should be making this. Or you should break into someone else kitchen and make it. They won’t mind as long as you leave some in the freezer. Seriously – try it, I’ll bet they’ll be all, “No officer, there’s no problem here. We thought they were burglars but they made stuffed shells and isn’t that SO NICE?”
I apologize. I’m delirious from too much packing and a lack of kitchen and this post might not make much sense. To wrap up: these shells are good. I hope to have a kitchen soon. The end.
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
This dish makes enough filling for about 15 – 20 pasta shells. Depending on the size of the pan you’re using, I would make a few extra shells in case a few of them rip apart in the process. I also prefer to have the tops of my shells crispy, which is why I don’t pour the sauce over the top, but if you’re bothered by crispy pasta then feel free to add more sauce over top right before cooking.
For the filling
6 oz spinach, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
15 oz of ricotta cheese1
15oz can artichoke hearts, well drained and chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese + 1/3 cup
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the spinach. Stir gently until the spinach is wilted and then drain the excess liquid from the pan. Combine the spinach in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
For the pasta:
20 pasta shells
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Cook the pasta shells in boiling water until they are just shy of al dente. You don’t want them to be fully cooked since they will continue to cook further in the oven. Drain and set aside.
Pour the marinara sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Gently spoon the filling individually into each pasta shell and line along the bottom of the pan. You’ll want the shells to be fairly close together so that they don’t open up and spill the filling out into the dish. Once all the shells are in the pan sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan cheese. (If you want it really cheese you can cover the top with shredded mozzarella)**
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the edges of the shells start to brown and the sauce is bubbly. Serve immediately.
**At this stage you can cover your dish in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to a month. Whenever you need a quick meal just unwrap and throw it in the oven.