Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stuffed Spinach Shells

(I'm really embarrassed about the lame photos for this post. I'll try not to use iphone anymore!! But still wanted to post this recipe b/c it's really yummy!!!)

I've always loved food. I grew up in New Orleans, and in my opinion ate at the best restaurants in the world. Ok, I guess I can't say "world", because I'm definitely not a "world traveler"- The only place I've been out of the country is Mexico. Anyways, my heart (and taste buds) are in New Orleans. When I was in High School, I applied to a favorite local Italian restaurant, Figaro's, close to my (childhood) home on a whim, and was hired that same day. One of my favorite things there was their Stuffed Pasta Shells. And it also reminds me of my mom, too, she would always order it. So I tried to find a close enough recipe to resemble this said stuffed shell recipe. After searching around, this is what I found.

On a side note, my 14 month old LOVES LOVES LOVES this. She wanted to eat the whole pan. And she had leftovers again and again until they were all gone.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
(Makes 6 servings)

6 oz jumbo shell pasta (1/2 a standard box or about 20 shells)
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 can (or jar) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups grated Fontina or mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg
freshly ground black pepper
24 oz jar marinara sauce

1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions, drain well and let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Combine ricotta, garlic, spinach, artichokes, 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan and the egg. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper (you won’t need much salt since the cheese is salty).
4. Spread a cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.
5. Fill the cooked shells with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Arrange the shells in rows in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the remaining Fontina and Parmesan.

6. Bake covered with foil for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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