Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells (Conchiglioni) Recipe
Stuffed shells, or conchiglioni, are a classic Italian dish that is both delicious and easy to make. In this recipe, we’ll be filling large pasta shells with a creamy spinach and ricotta mixture, and baking them in a rich tomato sauce. This dish is perfect for a cozy dinner at home, and it’s sure to impress your guests!
— Ingredients Needed :
SAUCE (YOU NEED LOTS!):
▢2 tbsp olive oil
▢2 eschallots/shallots or 1 small onion , finely chopped
▢4 garlic cloves , finely minced
▢1 bay leaf , fresh (sub dried)
▢1/2 tsp each dried thyme and oregano
▢1/3 cup tomato paste
▢700g / 25 oz tomato passata (US: tomato sauce)
▢1/3 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine (sub more stock)
▢4 cups vegetable stock/broth , low sodium
▢3/4 tsp salt
▢1 1/2 tsp white sugar
▢1/3 tsp black pepper
▢250g / 8 oz frozen chopped spinach , thawed
▢500g / 1 lb ricotta , full fat please
▢1/2 cup parmesan , finely shredded
▢1 cup shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Colby, Cheddar, Tasty, Gruyere, Swiss, anything!)
▢1 large garlic clove , minced
▢Grated fresh nutmeg (just a sprinkling) or 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder (optional)
▢3/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt
▢1/2 tsp black pepper
▢250g / 8 oz jumbo pasta shells (conchiglioni)
▢1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
▢1/2 cup parmesan , shredded
▢Fresh basil and parmesan , for garnish (optional)
— To make this Recipe :
Sauté – Heat oil in a small pot over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, bay leaf, thyme and oregano. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Reduce wine – Add wine, increase heat to high and let it simmer rapidly until mostly evaporated (about 2 minutes).
Simmer – Add passata, stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir then simmer on low *(uncovered) for 20 minutes. Use while hot.
Squeeze spinach – Grab handfuls of spinach and squeeze out excess water.
Mix filling – Place spinach in a bowl with remaining Filling ingredients. Mix well.
ASSEMBLE & BAKE:
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan).
Stuff – Stuff UNCOOKED shells with spinach ricotta filling. Stuff them full!
Assemble – Pour the hot tomato sauce in a 23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13″ baking dish. Gently place the stuffed shells in – most will be submerged, some may poke above surface.
Bake – Cover with a baking tray (or foil) then bake for 70 minutes.
Cheese it! Check the shells – they should be al dente! (If not, return to oven, covered). Sprinkle with mozzarella then parmesan. Bake 15 minutes until melted.
Serve, garnished with extra parmesan and basil if desired!
— Pro Tips:
If you have leftover filling, you can freeze it for later use or use it as a spread for toast or crackers.
To make this dish even more flavorful, try adding some chopped onions and mushrooms to the spinach and ricotta mixture.
You can also use a mix of different cheeses like fontina, asiago, or pecorino romano to add more complexity to the dish.
Don’t overcook the shells, as they will continue to cook in the oven. Cook them only until they are al dente, or slightly firm to the bite.
— Nutrition Information:
This recipe makes 4 servings. Here’s the approximate nutrition information per serving:
Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells (Conchiglioni) are a great way to enjoy a classic Italian dish with a twist. The creamy filling of ricotta cheese and spinach is packed with nutrients, while the tomato sauce provides a healthy dose of lycopene. Plus, this recipe is easy to customize with different cheeses and add-ins, making it a versatile and crowd-pleasing meal. Serve it with a side salad and garlic bread for a satisfying dinner that will leave everyone happy and full.
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