Stuffed Pasta Shells are a great family favorite & a soul satisfying comfort food. I love the idea of stuffed bakes or stuffed pan fried meals…
Today’s post is so simple but looks very intricate & elaborate. Anyone would feel that you really have to slog over it but the fact is that it requires hardly any planning! You can actually prepare your own special & unique filling or even use leftovers to convert this wonderful dish. I made this into a vegetarian bake but you could use mince meat, sausage meat or seafood if you so prefer.
This meal is so tasty & healthy… the combination of cheese & fresh green spinach in pasta shells is so flavorful & divine. It is a superb one pot meal & excellent at a pot luck… or even at brunch / dinner with crusty bread.
This casserole will steal the show at any party as the vibrant colors… red marinara sauce, green spinach, white shells & cheese will attract & impress your guests! You can use any combination of cheese & vegetables of your choice. Besides, the sauce is delightfully tangy & yummy… So enjoy this lovely casserole piping hot just the way we do… 😀
- 1 packet Jumbo Pasta Shells
- 2 cups fresh Spinach Leaves(picked, washed & roughly chopped)
- 2 cups Homemade Marinara Sauce or store bought
- 3 tsps. Italian Seasonings (mixed dried or fresh herbs) or as per taste
- ½ cup Bread Crumbs
- ¾ cup Paneer (Cottage Cheese) crumbled
- 1 cup each of Ricotta Cheese (optional)
- 1 cup Mozarella Cheese(grated/shredded)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese(grated)
- A handful of Coriander/Parsley (chopped)
- 1 Onion (peeled & finely minced)
- 4 cloves fresh Garlic (finely minced)
- 2 tbsps. Olive/Vegetable Oil
- A pinch of Nutmeg (freshly grated)
- Black or White Pepper pwd. to taste.
- Salt to taste
In a sufficiently large pot, add enough water & let it come to a rolling boil.
Add salt & cook the pasta shells till al dente or as per packet instructions.
Drain out the water completely; toss & coat the pasta shells with some olive oil so that they do not stick to each other.
Make sure that each shell is separate.Let the pasta shells cool down.
In a sufficiently large bowl, combine Paneer (Cottage cheese), Ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, some dried/fresh Italian herbs, parsley/coriander & mix until well blended.
In a large skillet, heat oil over med. heat; sauté onions until golden in color.
Add finely minced garlic & then the chopped spinach. Cook until just wilted.
Season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste.
Cool the mixture & mix it along with the prepared cheese mixture.
Pour the marinara sauce into a baking dish.
Carefully fill each pasta shell with the cheese-spinach mixture.
Arrange the stuffed pasta shells with the filled side up in the prepared baking dish.
Pour more marinara sauce over stuffed shells evenly.
Cover tightly with aluminium foil & bake at 220C for about 30 mins.
Bring the baking dish out of the oven, take off the aluminium foil, sprinkle with Mozarella cheese & the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
Put the baking dish with the stuffed pasta shells in the oven & bake uncovered for another 10 – 15 mins.
Serve hot with garlic bread or any of your favorite bread & salad.