Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ricotta, Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Marinara

Since this got SO many hits of approval on Facebook, I have to share my recipe. Sorry, Jamie G - there is no video to accompany the recipe. But next time, I'll try to remember to set up the video camera and capture another LBDelicious how-to-moment.

Ricotta, Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Marinara

First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it has reached boiling, generously salt the water (couple handfuls) Add about 14 jumbo shells, and cook for about 8-9 minutes, until almost al dente (it's okay if they're not completely cooked through; they will continue to cook in the oven).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and prepare the filling, which is:

1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese (low fat is fine)
about a handful of grated parmesan cheese
about 2 handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese
salt, pepper & Italian seasoning to taste
1 egg
almost a can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained of brine, rinsed, squeezed out of any moisture, and chopped into bits
1 10-oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted (microwave for 3 minutes on high) and squeezed of any moisture

Combine the above ingredients in a medium-sized bowl; my tool of choice for this is a fork. I find that mixing the ricotta first with seasonings, parmesan and egg, then the artichokes and spinach works perfectly.

By this point the shells should be about done. Drain, and allow to cool to the point that you can handle them. Prepare a baking dish by coating with cooking spray and pouring about 1/2 - 3/4 cup jarred tomato sauce (Barilla tomato & basil is my personal preference) on the bottom of the pan. Stuff each shell with about 2 small spoonfuls of the mixture. Position shell-side down in the prepared pan. When the pan is full or you run out of filling, top the shells with the remaining jar of sauce (use a spoon for even sauce distribution). Then top with another couple of handfuls of shredded mozzarella and a generous shower of parmesan. Cover with foil, bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

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