Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

I made this for dinner tonight, and it was a hit!  Easy to make, too, which is always a bonus in my book.

Here is the recipe (from "Favorites" cookbook):
32 jumbo pasta shells
2 (10 ounce) packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons fennel seeds 
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups bottled marinara sauce

Cook pasta shells, drain well and set aside. Squeeze spinach dry and put in large bowl. Add ricotta, 1/3 cup Parmesan, fennel, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir to blend. Spoon 1/2 cup marinara suace evenly over bottom of 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Place shells, filling side up, in the dish. Spoon remaining sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*I left out the fennel (YUCK) and only used 1 package of spinach.  Next time I make it, I might only use 1 or 2 cloves of garlic -- I thought 3 made it a little too strong.

While I made dinner, I had the kids play with homemade play dough (this batch has lasted for MONTHS) -- I'm sure you can see Scarlett eating some.....
Since their attention span is about 30 seconds and dinner took longer than that to assemble, I also had the kids decorate some paper that we will use to make Valentine's tomorrow.  After those 30 seconds were up, I turned on the TV. (And I remembered why I usually make dinner in the middle of the day while Scarlett is napping.)


The Harrises said...

Sounds all too familiar! I love your kitchen table and I'm very sorry it is decorated with crayon. I love trying new recipes, so thanks for sharing.

Maureen said...

This sounds good! I'll have to try it -- sans fennel, just like you. I agree, fennel is YUCK.

Meg said...

Funny, I hate fennel too.

The Thomas Family said...

Mmm, yum! Thanks for the recipe, I'm always looking for new ones. And since I thought the lasagne you made was really good (even on it's "last leg") I'm sure I can trust your judgement.
Is that homemade playdough made with koolaid? I made some with koolaid and it has lasted FOREVER! Great stuff.

Sarah and Devin said...

That looks so yummy! I'll have to try that!

Janelle said...

I have a funny story with that dinner....when I was first married and really cooking for the first time, I thought that a clove of garlic was an entire head. So, needless to say...I put in 3 heads of garlic instead of 3 cloves and it tasted terrible! I threw it away outside and our garage stunk until it was finally taken away! I have since made it once more but it was still too strong with the garlic (like you thought!)

I don't know if I'll ever venture out to make it again although Janean made it for us while we were in Texas during Katrina and it was good!

Jenny said...

So True about making dinner- so hard at night- but way to go- that dinner looks delicious! I can't wait to try it! I'm impressed you even tried a new recipe with 3 kids- way to go!