These ricotta stuffed shells are delicious. I guarantee you they will be an instant hit with your family and are a great way to add greens to everyone’s diet.
My love affair with dark greens continues. I have been putting kale, arugula, chard, and spinach in just about everything. Even my smoothies. I have really started to crave my green smoothie when I don’t have one every day. It really helps me fight that afternoon sweet craving that I get. I added finely chopped spinach to the ricotta cheese in these spinach stuffed shells and it was delicious. William loved these, and he is highly skeptical of green things in his food.
Now that school is back in session, getting dinner on the table can be a challenge. My little guy comes home from kindergarten exhausted and needing a little extra TLC. I know that he will get used to it, but for right now, it is a tough transition. The big kids have homework, practice 3 nights a week, and tons of other things going on. Needless to say, it can be a little hectic come dinner time. A trick that I have started doing again is to get dinner started in the morning when I have some time. When I have most of dinner ready in the morning, it is not a big deal to get it finished and on the table.
Why You Will Love This Recipe //
- Sneak some extra greens into your family’s diet with this recipe, and they won’t even mind.
- This is a creamy and rich recipe that stands out from other pasta dishes (lasagna might have a new rival).
- With the addition of basil and marinara sauce, the dish is vibrant, fresh, and cozy.
- These stuffed ricotta shells are ready in an hour, making it a perfect mid-week dish (or, make this recipe ahead of time for even easier dinner prep).
- 2 boxes jumbo pasta shells
- homemade marinara sauce (store bought is just fine)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch spinach, thinly sliced (it also works very well with kale)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 (15 oz) containers light ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
How to Make Stuffed Ricotta Shells // The Steps
Step 1: Cook the shells according to the package directions. (I take them out 1 minute before.) Drain and set aside. Wash the spinach and chop finely.
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 350° F. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and spinach. Cook until wilted. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside.
Step 3: Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil.
Step 4: Add cooled spinach.
Step 5: Put the ricotta filling in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the end cut off. Add a thin layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish. Stuff each shell with filling. Line the shells in the bottom of the dish.
Step 6: Cover with sauce and top with mozzarella and additional Parmesan. I sprinkle a little basil and oregano on top – because that is what my mom did whenever she made a baked pasta dish.
Step 7: Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take the foil off and continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or when the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Get creative with your shells and try an array of ingredients to find the flavors you like best. Here are some ideas:
- Tuna pasta stuffed shells: Tuna, combined with a creamy, cheesy white sauce, fresh dill, and corn come together for this take on a tuna pasta.
- Bolognese stuffed shells: Make a meaty Bolognese sauce with minced beef and/or pork, carrots, onion, celery, and chopped tomatoes. Then, stuff it in your shells and add a heap of cheese!
- Chicken and broccoli stuffed shells: Creamy white sauce marry tender chunks of chicken to little broccoli florets.
- Mexican stuffed shells: Change up the flavors of your pasta with a zesty sauce. Cumin, chili powder, enchilada sauce, shredded chicken, and lots of Mexican cheese stuffed into your shells can be a fun take on enchiladas.
You can easily make this dish in the morning, following all of the steps up until baking. Then, go about your day. All you will have to do in the evening is turn on the oven and bake your stuffed ricotta shells. If you prefer, you can prepare this recipe up to 3 days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator.
This is also a great go-to recipe for batch cooking, as you can keep it in the freezer before baking for up to 3 months. Whenever you need a quick and easy dinner, you will have one on hand.
If you like a golden color on your cheese, you can remove the foil early or turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes. Just beware that if your shells are exposed, they might crisp up as well.
You can use the filling in a lasagna if you like, or layer other types of precooked pasta for a layered pasta bake. However, if you are looking to stuff your filling into something other than jumbo shells, I would recommend cannelloni.
You can absolutely make this recipe vegan. You will just need to swap the cheeses for a dairy-free alternative; the ricotta and egg can be replaced with a thick vegetable puree (like zucchini, pumpkin, potato, or parsnip) or chia seeds and water. The consistency might be a little bit different, but this dish will taste delicious nonetheless.
How to Store Stuffed Ricotta Shells //
Like I said before, this dish will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or similar after letting it cool completely.
When reheating, you can place these shells back in the oven at 350° F for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. You could also microwave leftovers for a couple of minutes for a quick meal.
Monday 3rd of January 2022
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Sunday 2nd of January 2022
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Friday 31st of December 2021
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Sunday 26th of April 2020
[…] have been on the hunt for easy, healthy, and filling meals since the kids went back to school. After school can be really crazy at my house, so I like to get […]
Wednesday 2nd of November 2016
This just stopped my heart. So freaking beautiful. So freaking delicious sounding! You're a genius!
Tuesday 8th of November 2016
I am so glad, you should make them!