This spinach and cheese stuffed pasta is my favorite pasta recipe.
Giant pasta shells are stuffed with a mixture of spinach, herbs and three cheeses. Then you just cook them in a simple Italian tomato sauce and serve. It’s pasta heaven.
These stuffed shells are perfect for entertaining. You can make them several hours before you need to serve them, then just pop them in the oven to heat them up with the sauce before serving. Everything is already cooked so it just needs some time in the oven to bake and bring all of those wonderful flavors together.
I like that this is one of those vegetarian pasta recipes that meat eaters love too. Everyone I have ever served this to really enjoys it, so it’s definitely a keeper for me. Some of my family actually tell me that they reserve the right to request stuffed shells on a regular basis – and they do!
I hope you enjoy it. Try it out and leave a comment for me.
Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 24 pasta shells, jumbo, approximately
- 32 ounces Italian tomato sauce
- 10 ounces spinach, frozen, thawed, drained and chopped
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped fresh
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- salt and pepper, to your taste
- Cook the shells according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Spoon 1 cup of spaghetti sauce into a lightly greased 13"x9"x2" inch baking dish. Set aside the remaining sauce.
- Make sure the spinach is well drained. Squeeze it out to make sure as much moisture is out of it as possible. Combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the grated mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, the parsley and oregano. Add a bit of salt and pepper to the mixture and mix it all together well.
- Stuff each shell with about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture and place them in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and mozzarella.
- Cover and bake at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- The shells don't have to be stuffed until they are heaping full. Fill them until the cheese and spinach mixture is just about to the top of the shells. It gives just the right ratio of pasta to filling.
- You can make this a lower calorie dish by omitting the mozzarella cheese entirely. I often do that and it's delicious. Or just sprinkle a bit on top before baking.
- I prefer a thinner tomato sauce for this baked pasta dish. When you bake the pasta it draws moisture from the sauce as the pasta cooks in it. If you use a very thick chunky sauce I think it gets dryer. Just my opinion and of course you can choose whatever kind of sauce you prefer. That's part of the joy of cooking.
- If you like things spicy add some dried red pepper flakes to the sauce or a bit of hot sauce. I am not a super spicy eater so I like this the way it is, savory but not spicy.
Makes 6-8 servings.
I serve Italian meatballs in tomato sauce as a side dish as well as a large salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing and a big loaf of hot crusty garlic bread.
If you want an additional vegetable to round out the meal, and I often do add another vegetable, try green beans, steamed then sautéd with garlic and butter or olive oil. It goes really well with this meal.
If you like this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you share it on social media. Thanks.