Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

It was Half Term here in the UK last week, not to mention the Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day which we have celebrated with my Classic Pancakes and this delicious Perfect Eggless Tiramisu. There was also a bit more time for slightly more labour intensive dishes like these Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells which went down a treat with the entire family.

It is actually a really easy dish to make and although there are quite a few stages involved, you will be rewarded with wholesome , creamy and utterly delicious family feast! It’s a perfect, laid back, weekend type of cooking which I love. If you are on the roll, feel free to double the recipe to freeze for later as it freezes beautifully (minus cheeses on top, which you will add once defrosted and before baking).

Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Stages of cooking Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Tomato Sauce

You should start with getting your tomato sauce ready and this can be done way ahead. However, if you are making everything all at once then allow minimum half an hour for the sauce to simmer on the hob. The whole hour would be even better.

I’ve opted for some added veggie goodness in this sauce to make it that bit more wholesome and delicious. My kids absolutely adore it and the good thing is this recipe yields more than you need so you can freeze it or keep in the fridge for later. It will be perfect tossed with some pasta and cooked chicken for a quick lunch or dinner.

I puree my sauce until it’s really smooth as it simply suits this pasta dish better like that.  However, you can make it as smooth or as chunky as you wish.

Pasta

Pre-cook your pasta shells first. Bring large pan of salted water to boil and cook your shells for approx. 8 min leaving them slightly firm and al dente as they will cook further in the oven. Slight firmness will also help when you are filling them as they won’t fall apart in your hands. Once 8 minutes is up, drain them and cool immediately under cold water to stop cooking process. Set aside while you get on with your spinach.

Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Spinach

If you’re using fresh spinach, place it on a colander in a sink and pour over 1-2 kettles full of boiling water over it to wilt it. Cool and drain well, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Chop finely by hand or using food processor. Set aside.

Filling

Once spinach has cooled down, mix it with ricotta, grated parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper and get filling. It’s quite therapeutic really. πŸ™‚  In the past I used to make this bake using cannelloni (pasta tubes) which I found really frustrating to be honest hence never used to make it very often but these little pasta shells are soo much easier! No stress at all! It’s such a gorgeous and comforting veggie feast, you don’t really want to miss out and conchiglioni (pasta shells) are the way forward! πŸ™‚

Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Now take a look at detailed recipe below!

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Yield: 4 generous servings

Ingredients

    Tomato Sauce
  • Generous glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled or scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 broccoli stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped or plum tomatoes
  • couple sprigs of basil (leaves and stalks)
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
    You will need the pan with the lid
    Pasta Shells with Spinach & Ricotta filling
  • 250g conchiglioni pasta (pasta shells) - approx 32 shells
  • 500g fresh spinach or baby spinach (alternatively approx 300g frozen spinach)
  • 2 x 250g tubs ricotta cheese
  • 60g parmesan
  • grating of nutmeg (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pack mozzarella (125g drained weight)
  • More parmesan to grate on top before baking.
  • Fresh basil and more parmesan to serve (if you wish).
    I used rectangular baking dish approx 34x24 cm

Instructions

    Tomato Sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add onion, celery, carrots and broccoli stalk and let them fry briefly (2-3 min).
  2. Add whole garlic cloves, tomatoes, basil, sugar and couple of good pinches of salt.
  3. Rinse out the tins with a bit of water (less than a quarter of a tin) and add that too.
  4. Stir well and bring to boil. Cover tightly with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for anything between half an hour to an hour (however much time you've got).
  5. Keep en eye on the sauce and give it a stir from time to time. As long as the pan is tightly covered the sauce won't be reducing rapidly but nice and slow, letting flavours develop.
  6. Puree the sauce using a stick blender to the desired consistency, making it as smooth or leaving as chunky as you like.
    Pasta Shells with Spinach & Ricotta filling
  1. Pre-boil pasta shells in a large pan of salted, boiling water for 8 min, drain and run under cold water to cool.
  2. Put fresh spinach on a colander over the sink and pour 1 or 2 kettles worth of boiling water to wilt it. For frozen spinach follow instructions on the pack. Drain well, squeezing out as much water as possible. Chop finely with a knife or food processor.
  3. Put ricotta cheese in a large bowl, add chopped spinach, grated parmesan, grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Give it a good mix and taste, adjust seasoning as per your liking.
  4. Once you are happy with the taste of filling, start filling pre-cooked and cooled pasta shells using generous teaspoon per shell.
  5. Assemble your bake by spreading generous amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish and arranging your filled pasta shells on top. Follow with some more pasta sauce over the shells, mozzarella cheese and some grated parmesan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 180Β°C for approx 20-25 minutes until golden.
  7. Enjoy!
https://joskitchenlarder.com/baked-spinach-ricotta-stuffed-pasta-shells/

If you are big pasta fan, I have some lovely recipes that might be just up your street. Check out this Spring Lemon and Dill Salmon Pasta with Asparagus and Peas or perhaps Creamy Broad Beans, Courgette & Broccoli Pasta and don’t forget my super popular Veggie Lentils and Spinach Lasagne which is perfect if you fancy a spot of batch cooking.

Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Have you tried my Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post, I love reading them!

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Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

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I’m linking my Baked Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells post with the following pages:

Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes and Jacqui at Recipes Made Easy

Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Corina at Searching for Spice

Brilliant Blog Posts hosted by Vicki at Honest Mum Blog

Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily at A Mummy Too

Bake of the Week by Helen at CasaCostello and Jenny at MummyMishaps

Hijacked By TwinsCasa CostelloBrilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com Link up your recipe of the week 

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22 Comments

  • Reply Patrick@looneyforfood.com

    Holy smokes these look amazing ! I need a fork to dig in.

    February 20, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Patrick πŸ™‚ They were really delicious if I can say so myself πŸ™‚

      February 21, 2018 at 10:33 am
  • Reply Jacqui

    As you know I love Spinach and ricotta as a combination and I would this dish too as would the rest of my family. Thank you for linking to #CookBlogShare

    February 21, 2018 at 12:35 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Jacqui! Ooo yes, your spinach ricotta stuffed pancakes are fantastic! It is such a gorgeous tasting filling, isn’t it. My kids love it and aren’t even bothered by “the green bits” πŸ™‚

      February 21, 2018 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Corina Blum

    These look delicious Jo! I love the combination of spinach and ricotta – it goes perfectly with pasta. Thanks so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice x

    February 21, 2018 at 12:47 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Corina! It’s such a crowd pleaser this one! πŸ™‚ x

      February 21, 2018 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    Oh these look delicious! I absolutely love spinach and ricotta + pasta! I might these ago! x

    February 21, 2018 at 1:16 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Jess! It’s a classic combination of flavours isn’t it? My version is properly comforting but with a lot of goodness thrown in as well! x

      February 21, 2018 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Maud

    Oh these look amazing and right up my street. I shall add them to next week’s meal plan. Thank you

    February 21, 2018 at 11:18 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Aw, thank you! You really made my day! I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did! Let me know what you thought if you get the chance. πŸ™‚

      February 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm
  • Reply Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    Oh wow – these look and sound utterly delicious. Such beautiful photos too. I am such a sucker for these flavours, but I’ve never seen the presented in quite such a pretty way before – those big shells are gorgeous!! Eb x
    Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie recently posted…How to use theme nights to make meal planning easier…and more fun!My Profile

    February 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks so much Eb! It is such a satisfying and comforting dish but I do agree, it is tricky to photograph and make look pretty. My secret here (shhh, classified info) lol was to save a portion to photograph when it was stone cold from the fridge the next day, it worked a treat. After I was done taking photos, I reheated it for a lovely lunch so it was win win. πŸ™‚ x

      February 22, 2018 at 5:36 pm
  • Reply Jenny Paulin

    woah! this looks amazing and oh so delicious! You have managed to make it look very attractive and delicious! I could happily tuck into this for my lunch today.
    thank you for linking to #Bakeoftheweek xx

    February 23, 2018 at 10:38 am
  • Reply jenny walters

    These look incredible JO.Right up my street as usual!!Pinned xx

    February 23, 2018 at 12:28 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thank you! πŸ™‚ Can’t beat a bit of baked pasta! πŸ™‚ xx

      February 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply Monika Dabrowski

    Looks super tasty, pinned to my pasta board:)

    February 23, 2018 at 7:03 pm
  • Reply Kat (The Baking Explorer)

    This looks absolutely scrumptious, I would be licking the plate clean!
    Kat (The Baking Explorer) recently posted…Vegan Chocolate Orange CheesecakeMy Profile

    February 24, 2018 at 9:21 pm
  • Reply Deborah Regen

    Looks easy and yummy and filling with plenty of leftovers to savor another day. A winner! Pinned.

    February 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thank you so much Deborah! πŸ™‚ They are so easy to prepare and great to have at the ready for filling and nutritious brekkie.

      February 27, 2018 at 12:27 pm

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