May 2, 2013

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I love spinach. My husband, on the other hand, keeps his distance. Imagine my shock and excitement when we were discussing our menu for the next couple weeks and he suggested trying this recipe. Whoa. Josh has a knack for picking out recipes we'll both love, so it's fun when he wants to try something outside his comfort zone.

This is a dish we'll be repeating again in the future. It's not difficult at all and it's super tasty. My favorite part of this recipe was the actual preparation stage. Usually when we make supper, one of us is in the kitchen, and one of us hangs out with the babe. Not this time. Cole was content with hanging out in his playard, so we got to work. We chatted about our day, Cole's birthday party, Doctor Who, etc. It was relaxing and a nice change of pace. I really hope we get to cook together again soon!

18 jumbo pasta shells (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1-15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt plus additional for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for seasoning
Olive oil or cooking spray
2 cups baby spinach, finely chopped
1 cup low-fat ricotta
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cook the shells like normal, drain, and set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion (and if you're using it, chorizo as well) cook until onions are translucent (or chorizo is browned). Add tomatoes and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste; simmer about 10 minutes. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine spinach, cheeses, egg and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread half the tomato sauce into prepared dish. Spoon spinach mixture into baggie, cut one of the bottom corners off and pipe a heaping tablespoonful into shells. Arrange stuffed shells in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked through and sauce begins to bubble. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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