24.11.13

Stuffed Pasta Shells are Perfect on a Winter Day


It is a cold Grey Cup Sunday. I rarely watch football and I am a Stampeders fan so will only catch the highlights today. I am also getting ready for the Spirit of Christmas tradeshow next weekend. This is my bread baking weekend and the kitchen has been a disaster zone.
Lately I have been rifling through my freezer for meals. I have a hoarding personality and save all my good food until freezer burn sets in. No longer. I am eating my way through all the yummy things I have made in batches and frozen some for future meals.
Today I found ricotta and spinach stuffed pasta shells.  I don't have any melty cheese to top these with so I made a bechamel sauce. After the shells were heated and bubbly I topped it with the bechamel and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. I put it back in the oven until the top browned. Simple perfect lazy meal.
Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells
1 500 g pkg. large shell shaped pasta 1 lb.
1 c. ricotta cheese 250 mL
1 bag fresh spinach or 1 pkg. frozen spinach
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese 30 mL
3 c. tomato sauce 750 mL
1 c. mozzarella, grated 250 mL
2 tbsp. sundried tomatoes 30 mL
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed red chilies, optional 5 mL
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped 30 mL
Cook pasta shells to not quite al dente, drain and set aside.
Steam spinach, squeeze out all water and finely chop. If using frozen chopped spinach, thaw and squeeze out all water. Add ricotta, Parmesan, sundried tomato, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Sauté crushed red chilies, pine nuts and garlic until just turning brown and add to spinach mixture.
Cover bottom of baking dish with tomato sauce. Stuff pasta shells with filling and arrange over tomato sauce. Top with more tomato sauce and grated mozzarella.
Cover and bake at 350 F (190 C) until warmed through and cheese is melted. Makes about 18 large shells.

Bechamel Sauce
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 c. whole milk
grating of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in saucepan and add flour. Cook a little to get rid of the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk and add seasonings. Carefully bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Serve.

4 comments:

  1. This is definitely a warming dish on a cold day like today Sarah.

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  2. Oh my - how delicious! Remembering many Grey Cup Sundays...thanks for the trip back through memory lane!

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  3. I love pasta dishes,,comforting and flavorful.

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  4. Stuffed shells are prefect on a Winter day, and your slook wonderful! Complimenti!

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