Baked Stuffed Shells with Spinach

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Baked Stuffed Shells with Spinach
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Sunday family dinner

One of my favorite memories growing up was Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house on Commodore Street. Everyone showed up to be together and to respect the matriarch of the family Grazia DiPasquale Santoro who always sat at the head of the table. She secretly would sneak bits of food to the begging dog under the table. We all knew it, but pretended not to. Soup was always the first dish, homemade with little meatballs. It was the second dish everyone lived for: PASTA.

I thought about these wonderful stuffed shells and ate them often and eventually made them my whole life. Today I’m sharing the recipe with you after what seems a lifetime.

This is a wonderful hearty recipe for a “bone-sticking” dish” during these cold days of winter and even for those who aren’t so cold as we are in the North. It’s quick,easy and delicious. I add spinach to my dish. If you want to make it simply with ricotta and mozzarella, that’s fine too. I use a large lasagna-sized pan and preheat the oven to 350o.

You will need:

  • 1 box Barilla large shells for stuffing
  • 1 -32 ounce container of whole milk ricotta
  • 1- 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed,drained and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packets sugar
  • 2 bottles of Bertoli ORGANIC olive oil, basil and garlic tomato sauce or your own tomato sauce @ 48 oz or my brother Joe’s marinara sauce in my previous blog on meatballs and sauce.
  • 1 package shredded mozzarella
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil or Italian chopped parsley to garnish

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Directions:

1) Boil the shells until they are tender but not breaking apart. Bite one to taste. Make sure they are not too hard. Add some olive oil to the boiling water so they don’t stick.
2) Drain the shells and rinse with cold water to cool them off before stuffing
3) In a large mixing bowl place the ricotta and make a big hole in the middle.
4) Put 2 eggs in the hole along with 2 sugar packets
5) Add the chopped spinach making sure first it is dried
6) Stir to have a good consistency.
7) Blend in at least a cup of the shredded mozzarella and ½ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir again.
8) Coat the bottom of the lasagne pan with sauce and scoop enough ricotta and spinach mixture into each shell so they are well filled.
9) Put more shredded mozzarella on top of each shell and sprinkle more Parmesan on them before baking.
10) Bake at 350o for about ½ hour or until they look gooey. Remove from the oven and sprinkle fresh chopped parsley or basil. Cover them with more sauce if you like before serving. Serve HOT!!!

At the end of dinner (which also included a meat dish and vegetables) all the grandchildren would gather with Grandma in the living room to have our special time with her while the grown-ups either played cards or cleaned up the kitchen.

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Grandma with all the grandchildren

What wonderful childhood memories I had and most of them started and ended at the table.

BUON APPETITO! BUON WEEKEND!!

-Maria

Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.
THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.
www.thasc.com

14 thoughts on “Baked Stuffed Shells with Spinach

  1. Dana Burdick February 19, 2015 / 4:15 am

    Maria,
    I also have found Memories of me and my family, sitting around the table, eating pasta dinner on Sunday. We would all gather around the table eating salad, pasta, meatballs, and sausage, and of cause itialian bread, and drinking red wine. We all talked in itialian, and we also had many laughs. Those were the good old days. Baked stuffed shells l had before, but never with spinach in it. I will have to try this recipe, it looks really good

    Like

    • Maria February 19, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      I know you’ll love them, Dana! Why not let Teddy follow my recipe and prepare them for you!!!!

      Like

  2. alb February 19, 2015 / 10:38 am

    This looks really good!

    Like

    • Maria February 19, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      Dear A L B, Let me know how you like them after you prepare them!!!! It’s easy and delicious! Thanks so much for writing and posting~~~

      Like

  3. Maureen February 19, 2015 / 11:46 am

    Oh my! After trying your chicken parm, I HAVE to try this! YUM! Perfect for lent if you don’t eat fish 🙂

    Like

    • Maria February 19, 2015 / 12:16 pm

      Dear Maureen, Guaranteed a winner for you! Great for Lent as you said!!! Thanks so much for writing! Love,
      Maria P.S. I don’t llike fish either!!!! LOL

      Like

  4. Charlene Olson February 19, 2015 / 11:56 am

    I come from a slightly unconventional family, we have a few of our own traditions, but weekly family dinners unfortunately for me were not one of them, I sure wish it had been though as I LOVE all things food. On the other hand I was fortunate enough to blessed with an amazing Godmother Ms.Maria Vallone herself!!!! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my time spent with her and the joy of sharing meals with her great food and conversation. I’m so happy for this blog and the recipes within for now I can whip up and share these delightful dishes with my husband and children. Keep the recipes coming Auntie Ri they’re a big hit here. Muah xoxo

    Like

    • Maria February 19, 2015 / 12:20 pm

      Dear Charlene, my only Godchild , I am so blessed that part of your childhood memories include me. I remember many times shared round the table with you and I am so happy you have your own family to share these menus with. Do share the results with me! I so appreciate you taking time to write me!!!! Love you!!!

      Like

  5. Wendy I Roffer February 19, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    Love the Recipe, I’ve got to try it! Your family dinners remind me of our Friday “Shabbat” dinners with my Grandparents! But they were always roast chicken and chicken noodle soup with
    matzo-balls. I miss it all! I don’t have family in the area!

    Like

    • tesoromio315 February 19, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      Dear Wendy,
      First of all thank you for commenting on the blog.. Did you know when I lived in Miami I always went to Shabbat dinner with my Jewish friends! They had me sing italian songs!! Most of my family is gone now too but I think we were both lucky to have wonderful childhood memories. I hope you try the stuffed shells. Maybe you can invite your sister for old times sake!

      Like

  6. Rosaleen Melone February 21, 2015 / 6:22 am

    Maria, as a vegetarian, I am delighted to have your recipe for baked shells with spinach! It sounds, as ALL of your recipes do, delizioso!!! I will let you know how mine turn out. Mille grazie,bella!

    Like

    • Maria February 21, 2015 / 8:18 am

      Rosaleen,
      Thank you for your comment. I always trust your opinions on my cooking and I think this is a perfect dish for you.
      I will put more vegetarian dishes on board especially for those of you fasting during Lent. Grazie mille!!!!

      Like

  7. Anna Maria Santoro D'Angelico February 24, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    Ohhhhhh Maria you have brought tears of JOY to my heart with so many memories that I also enjoyed. and shared .
    I will definitely make the stuffed shells… Thank you so much for the memories and all the wonderful recipes. I totally admire you. love you more..
    Anna

    Like

    • Maria February 25, 2015 / 9:24 am

      Dear Anna, I knew these photos would touch your heart. Let me know how the shells turn out. I’m sure you make your own fabulous ones! Love, Maria

      Like

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