Sunday, 19 August 2012

Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Spinach

This is a great meal which you can easily make for both vegetarians and meat lovers at the same time. The vegetarian's get a nice tomato sauce on top and for the meat eater you add a meat sauce which makes everyone happy at the same meal. If you want to stuff the shells with seasoned ground beef this is also another option.

You will need:

*for 2 people

  • 10-12 large cooked shells
  • 250 grams ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 box frozen spinach- thawed, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp good balsamic vinegar
  • salt/pepper
  • tomato sauce or meat sauce
  • mozzarella to top
Optional: 1 small clove garlic grated fine or crushed

Step 1: boil water in a large pot and cook approx 14 large shells for 2 portions. (I always cook a few more than I need in case some break while cooking) If you want to make a big batch its easy to stuff the shells, top with sauce and cheese and then freeze. I always freeze in individual portions so you can always take out one at a time if you want. 

Step 2: mix ricotta and chopped spinach well. Grate some fresh nutmeg, add a bit of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I like to add a small clove of crushed garlic and then taste it. If you need more seasoning do it here. Most people are terrified of salt but, when you cook yourself you typically add way less salt then processed foods ever have in them so don't be so worried unless you have a sodium issue.

Step 3: add 5-6 stuffed shells to a ramekin for a generous portion. Top with your favourite sauce and cheese and when you are ready heat in a 350 degree F oven until the cheese is browned and bubbly. You can also add some grated Parmesano Reggiano on top which will add lots of good flavour.

This is the meat topping. If you have a great meat sauce left from a Spaghetti Bolognese dinner use it here or just a pure tomato with some fresh basil is also fantastic! 

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