Spinach ricotta stuffed shells | RecipeTin Eats


There’s no must pre-cook shells earlier than you stuff them. Such a ache messing round with scorching floppy shells! Simply bake in a great deal of sauce they usually’ll prepare dinner within the oven. These jumbo shells, known as conchiglioni in Italian, are filled with spinach and ricotta. Serve with a Mega Italian Salad and garlic bread for the proper dinner.

Close up photo of Spinach ricotta stuffed shells

Stuffed shells

I don’t know for those who’ve ever tried, however stuffing scorching cooked pasta shells is a nightmare. Slipper suckers that they’re, they usually break so simply.

There’s no must undergo by all that! It’s a lot simpler to stuff uncooked, raw pasta shells and prepare dinner them within the oven just by overlaying them in a LOT of sauce. It 100% works. It’s the best way I’ve been cooking cannelloni/manicotti all my life.

The trick is just to begin with a big quantity of watery sauce that the pasta shells prepare dinner in. Not dissimilar to cooking pasta in a pot of boiling water, really. And by the top, that watery sauce reduces down into a stunning thick pasta sauce!

This technique of cooking additionally offers with one other pet-peeve of mine: dry pasta shells. No worries about that right here, we find yourself with loads of tomato sauce for serving!

Freshly baked Spinach ricotta stuffed shells

What you want for stuffed pasta shells

Whereas there’s many stuffing choices for pasta shells, the most well-liked might be spinach and ricotta and that’s what I’ve gone with immediately. Sorry for being predictable? 🙂

Jumbo shells (conchiglioni)

Jumbo shells (conchiglioni is the correct Italian identify) are extra available today in Australian grocery shops (Woolies, Coles, Harris Farms) and the first cause I went on a stuffed shells bender.

They’re a little bit costlier than typical pasta shapes – round $5 for a 500g / 1 lb packet. However they go additional. You’ll want 250g / 8 oz for this recipe which serves 5 generously, presumably 6. (Let me remind you, I’ve a relatively sturdy urge for food! My serving parts will not be skimpy).

The spinach ricotta stuffing

Right here’s what you want for the stuffing. Precisely the identical mixture I take advantage of for spinach ricotta cannelloni, spinach ricotta rolls and the fan-favourite spinach ricotta rotolo.

For a meat possibility, use the meat filling in Beef Cannelloni as a substitute.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells ingredients
  • Spinach – use frozen for comfort (thaw, take away extra water earlier than utilizing), or contemporary for those who’ve bought an abundance of it

  • Ricotta – you’ll want to use a meals high quality full fats, creamy one. Tip for Australians: keep away from Excellent Italiano tub within the fridge aisle of main supermarkets. It’s fairly powdery and unsightly. My favorite is Paesanella which is offered at Harris Farms and over the deli counter at massive supermarkets.

  • Shredded cheese – A flavoured one is greatest, like cheddar, tasty, gruyere. Save the mozzarella for the topping (which melts nicely however doesn’t have that a lot flavour).

  • Parmesan – don’t skip this! It provides additional savouriness and seasoning to the filling. Simply retailer purchased finely shredded or grated is ok, or grate your individual.

  • Garlic – as a result of it makes every little thing higher

  • Egg – for binding.

  • Nutmeg – elective, but it surely’s a stunning contact. I take advantage of it in virtually all my spinach ricotta fillings.

  • Salt and pepper

The sauce

I discover this technique of cooking stuffed shells from uncooked works greatest with a easy pasta sauce relatively than one with lumps of crushed or diced tomatoes. The shells prepare dinner extra evenly and when it finishes baking, you’re left with a stunning easy pasta sauce.

Ingredients in Spinach ricotta stuffed shells
  • Tomato passata – Pureed, strained plain tomatoes, generally labelled “tomato puree” within the US (right here’s a photograph of Mutti tomato passata offered at Walmart). Available in Australian supermarkets these days, alongside pasta sauces. Glorious for making easy sauces relatively than simmering for ages to breakdown crushed or diced tomato. Extra on tomato passata right here.

    Substitutes – US Hunt’s tomato sauce is an ideal various. In any other case, use crushed canned tomato then puree (like I do for cannelloni/,manicotti).

  • Eschalots –Often known as French onions, and known as “shallots” within the US. They seem like child onions, however have purple-skinned flesh, are finer and sweeter. To not be confused with what some individuals in Australia name “shallots” ie the lengthy inexperienced onions.

    I like utilizing eshalots relatively than onions as a result of they’re finer in order that they virtually disappear into the sauce so that you get a stunning easy sauce. Nevertheless, you possibly can substitute with a small onion.

  • Herbs and spices – Recent garlic, bay leaf, dried thyme and dried oregano.

  • Tomato paste – To accentuate the tomato flavour and thicken the sauce barely.

  • White wine – Provides depth of flavour / complexity into the sauce in a approach solely wine can! It’s only one/3 of a cup and we simmer to prepare dinner out the alcohol. Substitute with extra inventory, or simply skip it.

  • Vegetable inventory – We’d like a complete litre / quart (4 cups) as a result of we’re making a LOT of VERY watery sauce right here! Simply watch the video and also you’ll see the way it all will get absorbed by the pasta shells, abandoning a stunning thickened pasta sauce for serving.

  • Sugar – Only a smidge, to take the bitter edge off the tomato paste we’re utilizing (tomato paste is bitter!).

Easy methods to make stuffed shells

It’s really extraordinarily straight ahead and the recipe has a pleasant movement to it: make the sauce first, then whereas it’s simmering, stuff the shells. Then assemble and bake!

Easy methods to make sauce for stuffed shells

How to make Spinach ricotta stuffed shells
  1. Sauté aromatics – Prepare dinner the garlic and eschalots with the herbs in a big saucepan or small pot.

  2. Tomato paste and wine – Prepare dinner off the tomato paste for 1 minute (this takes the uncooked bitter edge off and deepens the flavour) then add the wine and simmer quickly on excessive warmth till it’s largely evaporated.

  3. Simmer 20 minutes – Add the remaining substances then simmer on low for 20 minutes with the lid off.

  4. Watery sauce! The sauce will likely be VERY watery and there will likely be hundreds. Have religion! You want all of it – the shells take in most of that liquid. Hold the sauce scorching – we need to use it scorching.

Stuffing & bake

How to make Spinach ricotta stuffed shells
  1. Stuffing – Combine the spinach ricotta stuffing substances collectively.

  2. Stuff the uncooked raw shells. I discover it best to make use of a small offset spatula (like a butter knife with a bend in it, tremendous helpful kitchen instrument). Else a knife, spoon – no matter you discover makes it best for you.

  3. Assemble – Pour the new sauce right into a 23 x 33cm / 9 x 13″ baking dish. Then gently place the pasta shells in. They are going to be largely submerged, some would possibly semi-float. However you need most if not the entire pasta submerged below liquid so it cooks evenly (a bit poking above is ok as it can steam-cook).

  4. Bake 70 min lined – Cowl the dish with a baking tray (or foil) and bake for 70 minutes. Sure, actually, it can take that lengthy!

    Why a baking tray? Simple technique to cowl the baking dish, no waste, no burning your self, and it lets a little bit little bit of steam escape to assist the sauce scale back simply the correct quantity.

  5. 15 min bake, cheesed – Take away the baking dish from the oven. Sprinkle with cheese then bake for an additional quarter-hour till bubbly and golden.

  6. Serve! Scoop and serve. Marvel at how the shells are completely al dente and the way there’s a lot pretty sauce to serve it with!

Spinach ricotta stuffed shells fresh out of the oven
Bowl of Spinach ricotta stuffed shells

Serve with a fast rocket balsamic salad (that’s arugula, to these of you within the States!) or for those who’re out to impress, a Mega Italian Salad (it lives as much as its identify). Add a aspect of garlic bread and tiramisu to complete, and that’s just about my thought of an ideal dinner. When am I coming over?? – Nagi x

Watch the way to make it

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Spinach ricotta stuffed shells close up photo

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells (Conchiglioni)

Servings5 – 6 individuals

Faucet or hover to scale

Recipe VIDEO above. There isn’t any must fiddle stuffing scorching floppy shells. Simply stuff raw jumbo pasta shells and bake in a great deal of sauce! Bonus: The shells take in the flavour of the sauce, and there is loads of tasty sauce for serving. As a result of no person likes dry pasta shells!



  • 250g / 8 oz frozen chopped spinach , thawed (Be aware 3)
  • 500g / 1 lb ricotta , full fats please (Be aware 4)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan , finely shredded
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Colby, Cheddar, Tasty, Gruyere, Swiss, something!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 massive garlic clove , minced
  • Grated contemporary nutmeg (only a sprinkling) or 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder (elective)
  • 3/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper



  • Sauté – Warmth oil in a small pot over medium excessive warmth. Add garlic, onion, bay leaf, thyme and oregano. Prepare dinner for 3 – 4 minutes till the onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and prepare dinner for 1 minute.

  • Scale back wine – Add wine, enhance warmth to excessive and let it simmer quickly till largely evaporated (about 2 minutes).

  • Simmer – Add passata, inventory, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir then simmer on low *(uncovered) for 20 minutes. Use whereas scorching.

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 new tomato sauce in a 23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13″ baking dish. Gently place the stuffed shells in – most will likely be submerged, some could poke above floor.

  • Bake – Cowl with a baking tray (or foil) then bake for 70 minutes.

  • Cheese it! Test the shells – they need to be al dente! (If not, return to oven, lined). Sprinkle with mozzarella then parmesan. Bake quarter-hour till melted.

  • Serve, garnished with additional parmesan and basil if desired!

Recipe Notes:

1. Eschallots / shallots  – Often known as French onions, and known as “shallots” within the US. They seem like child onions, however have purple-skinned flesh, are finer and sweeter. To not be confused with what some individuals in Australia name “shallots” ie the lengthy inexperienced onions.
2. Tomato passata – Pureed, strained plain tomatoes, generally labelled “tomato puree” within the US (right here’s a photograph of Mutti tomato passata offered at Walmart). Available in Australian supermarkets these days, alongside pasta sauces. Passata is great for making easy sauces. Extra on tomato passata right here.
Subs – US Hunt’s tomato sauce is an ideal sub. May used crushed canned tomato then puree (like I do for cannelloni/,manicotti).
3. Spinach – I take advantage of frozen spinach for the comfort and in addition as a result of I’m a sucker for the entire “snap frozen” factor. To make use of contemporary, use about 500g/1 lb sliced spinach leaves or child spinach leaves, saute with a little bit oil to wilt down and take away extra liquid. Cool then proceed with recipe.
4. Ricotta – Low fats ricotta is more durable and drier, so it’s tougher to pipe into the tubes plus as soon as baked, isn’t as juicy and moist. Keep away from Excellent Italian model in tubs (Australia, Woolies, Coles and many others), has an disagreeable powderiness about it, I discover. My favorite is Paesanella.
5. Large shells (conchiglioni) – out there at massive grocery shops in Australia today (Woolies, Coles), additionally Harris Farms (Syd/Bris) and Italian / delis and many others. No must pre-cook – makes it a nightmare to stuff, the slippery suckers that they’re! Simply want a great deal of skinny pasta sauce.
I do know 250g/8z doesn’t sound like a lot but it surely actually does serve 5 if not 6 individuals (with regular appetites).
6. Leftovers – refrigerate as much as 3 days or freeze, thaw, then reheat lined in microwave for greatest outcomes.
Diet per serving, assuming 5 servings (fairly beneficiant). 

Diet Data:

Serving: 407gEnergy: 798cal (40%)Carbohydrates: 69g (23%)Protein: 43g (86%)Fats: 39g (60%)Saturated Fats: 20g (125%)Polyunsaturated Fats: 2gMonounsaturated Fats: 13gTrans Fats: 0.004gLdl cholesterol: 145mg (48%)Sodium: 1716mg (75%)Potassium: 1338mg (38%)Fiber: 8g (33%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 8080IU (162%)Vitamin C: 23mg (28%)Calcium: 792mg (79%)Iron: 6mg (33%)

Lifetime of Dozer

Wow. He actually will eat something.


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