Main courses

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

0 comments

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells is an easy vegetarian dish. Large shell pasta is stuffed with spinach, ricotta and Parmesan cheese then topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and baked in the oven.

Fresh from the oven spinach and ricotta stuffed shells in a square casserole dish.
Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells is an easy Italian casserole

Many spinach and ricotta stuffed shell recipes use a simple marinara sauce. It is delicious and you can’t go wrong if that is what you have. I decided instead to use vodka sauce which offered a smooth creamy tomato sauce. It paired perfectly with the spinach, ricotta and Parmesan cheese filling.

Spinach is a great vegetable. It has plenty of nutrients and a mild flavor. Like most spinach and ricotta stuffed shell recipes, I sautéed some onion and garlic for the filling. I also add a scant pinch of ground nutmeg which pairs well with the spinach and the cheese. This seasoning with the vodka sauce was an nice unexpected twist on this classic recipe.

A dinner plate with spinach and ricotta stuffed shells and a side salad.
Serve this hearty dish with a side salad or additional vegetables

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells can be made ahead of time, covered and left in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. It is a delicious family meal you can prepare on the weekend and pop in the oven when you get home from work. I usually serve this tasty meatless dish with a fresh salad. It’s perfect for meatless Monday.

What you’ll need

  • Jumbo pasta shells (like Barilla jumbo shells)
  • EVO
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ground nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach (4 cups)
  • ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • egg
  • mozzarella cheese
  • vodka sauce (one jar, or marinara sauce)
  • Italian parsley or basil for garnish (if desired)

How to prepare spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

To make the stuffed shells, there are basically 3 main components. First, cook the pasta el dente. Second, prepare the filling. Third, stuff the shells and bake. They can be prepared ahead of time, covered in the fridge with plastic wrap and baked at another time or next day.

Sauté and season the spinach

Spinach cooks quickly. A giant pile of spinach will wilt to a much smaller quantity. If necessary, sauté one bunch of spinach with the seasonings, transfer to a bowl and then wilt the second bunch. Once the spinach has cooled you can chop it further and add it to the cheese mixture.

An image showing a close up of a stuffed shell.
Stuffing the shells with the filling

Combine the sautéed spinach in a bowl with the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Stir it up to combine. The shells are now ready to be stuffed. Next spread about 1/2 of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. I use a 9×9 square casserole dish. Stuff each shell with a spoonful of filling. As you can see from the picture below, the shells are not overstuffed, but are generously filled. Line the shells face up in the baking dish.

Line an oven safe baking dish with the stuffed shells face up

Next, top the shells with the remaining sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. At this point you can cover it and refrigerate or bake it.

Stuffed shells pasta covered with shredded mozzarella cheese, ready for the oven.
Stuffed shells topped with shredded mozzarella cheese

Bake the stuffed shells in a preheated oven (375 F) for 20-30 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cheese has melted.

Fresh from the oven, baked spinach and ricotta stuffed shells in vodka sauce.
Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells with vodka sauce

I find the stuffed shells to be quite filling. This recipe is enough for my family of four. You’ll need a square or smaller rectangle oven safe baking dish approximately 9×9 in size. Serve this dish with additional vegetables or a hearty salad and you’ll be satisfied.

I hope you enjoy this delicious spinach and ricotta stuffed shells recipe. Please leave me a comment below.

Happy cooking,

Michelle

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

Michelle
Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells is an easy vegetarian dish. Large shell pasta is stuffed with spinach, ricotta and Parmesan cheese then topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and baked in the oven.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 15 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka sauce
  • sprigs of fresh Italian parsley or basil for garnish if desired

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions. Drain.
  • In a large skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion and cook until it becomes tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Add the spinach and cook for about 2-3 minutes until it wilts. Add the ground nutmeg, salt and pepper to season. Work in batches if necessary. Transfer the spinach to a large bowl to cool.
  • Add the ricotta, Parmesan and egg. Stir to combine creating the filling.
  • Spread about 1/2 of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×9 oven safe baking dish. Stuff the shells with a spoonful of filling and lay face up in the dish.
  • Top the stuffed shells with the remaining pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cheese has melted.
  • Top with sprigs of Italian parsley or basil for garnish. Serve hot.

Notes

You can substitute creamy vodka sauce for marinara sauce if preferred.
4 cups of fresh spinach is approximately two bunches of spinach.
Use a 9×9 oven safe baking dish.
Keyword pasta, spinach
 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Recipe Rating




Don’t miss a recipe! Subscribe to our newsletter.