Monday, February 4, 2008

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells w/Garlic Roasted Green Beans

Here is one recipe that the boys at my house totally drooled over. I think that this got the highest rating of the week! The best part was that I made my own sauce, so we have plenty more for another meal this week!!!

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells
recipe from Cooking Light (2008 Cookbook) - photos from my kitchen


2 cups Basic Marinara, divided
Cooking spray
2 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
24 cooked jumbo pasta shells


Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread 1/2 cup Basic Marinara over bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine ricotta and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl, stirring well. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling into each pasta shell. Arrange stuffed shells in prepared dish; spread with remaining 1 1/2 cups Basic Marinara. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I topped mine with mozzarella and Parmesan and popped it in the oven for 5 more minutes to make it look tastier. I gotta have my cheese!!!


6 servings (serving size: 4 stuffed shells and about 1/3 cup sauce)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 329(27% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 4.8g,mono 3g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 19.6g; CHOLESTEROL 67mg; CALCIUM 377mg; SODIUM 552mg; FIBER 4.2g; IRON 2.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 39.4g

Bruce Weinstein , Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Basic Marinara


3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 3 medium)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added crushed tomatoes


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel seeds); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

After simmering for an hour or so, I taste-tested the sauce, and found it needed more seasoning. I added fresh basil, onion powder, garlic powder, more balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. I also added some bean stock (I found this tip on Culinate. The bean stock is supposed to add a heartier, meatier flavor, as well as thickening up the sauce.)

To store in the freezer: Ladle room-temperature or chilled sauce into plastic containers or zip-top plastic bags. Seal and freeze for up to four months. Consider freezing the sauce in one-cup increments (two servings' worth). That way, you can pull out exactly as much as you want for future meals.

To thaw sauce: Try one of three methods.

1. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Place frozen blocks in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Place frozen blocks in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH one minute at a time, stirring after each increment until thawed.

To boost taste: Long stints in the freezer can dull the taste of tomatoes. To perk up thawed sauce, add one-half teaspoon finely grated lemon rind or one teaspoon balsamic vinegar while reheating.


About 12 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 50(32% from fat); FAT 1.8g (sat 0.2g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 1.3g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 28mg; SODIUM 270mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 0.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8g

Bruce Weinstein , Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Green Beans

Place trimmed green beans on a baking sheet with a chopped shallot. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Add 5 thinly sliced garlic cloves; toss. Bake at 400 for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice.


Nina said...

Yum!! I am almost drooling looking at that. I think it will be making a appearance in my dinner rotaion soon. :)

CB said...

::wiping up drool from keyboard::

Deborah said...

My husband doesn't care for those shells very much, but I love them! I should make a batch of this up and freeze it for lunches for myself.