Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pesto Stuffed Shells

Next time I need to cut this recipe in half for our family.  It was perfect for 2 8x8 pans and I was able to make dinner for someone else.  I served this pasta with some meatballs and garlic bread.  I would have added a side salad if I'd had one :)  Next time.  My kids were not big fans, but it was my kind of meal, I liked the flavor the pesto added.
John's Rating:  7

Recipe from: Budget Bytes

30 jumbo shell pasta
15 oz part skim ricotta
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pesto (I used 4 frozen cubes)
1 egg
2 cups fresh spinach
3 cups pasta sauce

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box (boil for 12 min.). DO NOT OVERCOOK!  Drain the pasta and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Let the pasta drain.

While  those cook, in kitchen aid, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, pesto and the egg (the egg keeps the filling from getting too runny when cooked). Roughly chop the spinach and stir it into the cheese mixture.
**You could make this ahead of time and refrigerate the filling until you are ready to use it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon about 2Tbsp of pesto cheese mix into the center of each pasta shell, I used my cookie scoop (with the purple handle). There should be enough pesto cheese mix to fill the shell so that it stays open just slightly. Fill as many shells as you can with the cheese mix.

Spread one cup of pasta sauce in the bottom of a glass baking dish. (I used 2 8x8 inch dishes). You want to pack them in tightly in a single layer. If you space them too far apart, they will dry out during the cooking process. Place all of the shells in the baking dish as close together as possible and pour the remaining 2 cups of sauce over top. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the sauce is bubbling up around the edges.

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