Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells were my favorite dinner as a kid, and it was what I always requested for my birthday dinner from my mom.  Come to find, it was Chris' childhood bday special request as well!  Therefore I can't believe that in the 2+ years we have lived here, I had not made them yet.  The time has come :)

I wanted to make them a little different; the plain ricotta & mozz shells are too boring for me these days!  I also like to get the nutrition of extra veggies in there.  I found this recipe on Allrecipes and made some changes but did not stray too far.  We eliminated the ground turkey because one of our dinner guests is a vegetarian.  These shells were a big hit!  They were really delicious, this recipe is definitely a keeper!

You will need:
1 box of jumbo shells
1 large jar pasta sauce.  I like :

(We used the larger, "Family Size" jar)
8 oz organic mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (**This is important, get fresh!!)
1 and 1/2 - 15 oz containers of Ricotta cheese
1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.  *Try to time it that they are not sitting waiting to be stuffed long, they can get stuck together and therefore get hard to work with.  Keeping cold water slowly running on them in the strainer helps.
In a large heavy skillet saute mushrooms, garlic and onions. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, parsley, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

Stuff the cooked shells with the mixture, and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish. 

Cover with tomato sauce, and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

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