Flecks of spinach blend with feta and ricotta cheeses to make this stuffing for jumbo pasta shells. Use your own favorite tomato sauce, homemade
or jarred, as the topping. Preparation: 15 to 20 minutes, plus 30 to 35 minutes baking.
36jumbo pasta shells (extra in case of breakage)
1⁄2tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4cup finely chopped onion or shallot
1clove garlic, minced
11⁄2 teaspoons basil
11⁄2 teaspoons oregano
1package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1pound regular or part-skim ricotta cheese
8ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1⁄4teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3cups tomato sauce (homemade or purchased)
2 - 3tablespoons freshly grated Reggiano Parmigiano cheese
Nutritional information per serving: Calories 452 (37% from fat) • carb. 51g • pro. 16g • fat 18g • sat. fat 8g • chol. 49mg • sod. 821mg • calc. 458mg • fiber 3g
In a 5-quart stockpot, cook the pasta shells in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside on a sheet pan lined
with plastic wrap. In an 8-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and herbs; cook until softened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium (3-quart) bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Place the thawed spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze the liquid from the spinach; discard the liquid (you will have about 3⁄4 cup chopped spinach). Add the spinach, ricotta, feta and pepper to the onion mixture in the bowl. Mix on speed 2 for 30 seconds, then increase to speed 4 and mix for 11⁄2 minutes. Stuff each cooked shell with about 11⁄2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch (or equivalent) baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1 cup of the tomato sauce into the dish and spread evenly in the bottom. Arrange the shells, open side up. Spoon an additional 2 cups of the sauce evenly over the shells. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Tip: Measure out filling using an ice cream scoop—it is 13⁄5 tablespoons, just the perfect amount to fill each jumbo shell.