since brad has been gone during the weekdays one of my best friends, ashley, has been coming over a lot. we have been making dinner and just spending some quality time together before the move. we have been friends for a really long time (we grew up in the same town) so it's awesome to live in the same town, now, as adults. she is amazing friend and i'm going to miss her so much when we move to north carolina. loves you ashley!!
ashley has recently given up on meat (GASP! i know! but she is still eating seafood...thank goodness!) so when she comes over we tend to make vegetarian meals. like one of our favorites, pesto/mozz/tomato pizza. spinach and cheese stuffed shells were a new one for us! we actually cut the recipe in half so there were 3 servings instead of 6. the changes in math are at the bottom. the recipe didn't call for sun dried tomatoes but we thought it would add a nice flavor to the shells. it did!! :) so good! we served this with our favorite ceasar salad (from a bag! haha) and bread.
SPINACH AND CHEESE STUFFED PASTA SHELLS
adapted from cooks.com
(Fennel seeds add a flavorful new twist to this vegetarian main course.)
1 lb fresh or 1 10oz pkg frozen spinach (thawed)
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 c. (about 4 oz.) grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
3 1/2 c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
32 jumbo pasta shells, freshly cooked
Additional grated Parmesan
If using frozen spinach, squeeze dry. If using fresh, cook, covered, for 2-3 minutes in 1/4 cup boiling water; drain.
Transfer spinach to large bowl. Add Ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, fennel, basil, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes to bowl. Season mixture with salt and pepper; blend.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly over bottom of 9"x13"x2" baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with spinach mixture. Place shells, filling side up, in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve, passing additional Parmesan separately.
here is the ingredients cut in half to make 3 serving. (which is MORE than enough for 2 people...we had a lot of left overs)
½ lb fresh or ½ of a 10oz package of frozen spinach (thawed)
7.5 oz. Ricotta cheese (½ of container)
½ c. (about 2 oz.) grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried, crumbled
1.5 garlic cloves, minced (I used a scoop of the garlic from a jar)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ¾ c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
16 jumbo pasta shells, freshly cooked
Additional grated Parmesan