Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells


Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Servings 8 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon butter, to grease baking dish
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped and divided
  • 1 zucchini, cut into cubes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped and divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
  • ½ 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells (about 18 shells)
  • cups Italian crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • cups heavy cream
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 4 ounces coarsely grated fontina cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a deep 9 by a 13-inch ovenproof baking dish with butter and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté half of the onions, and zucchini (if using) for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of garlic and cook 20-30 seconds. Season with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  • When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, and ½ cup parmesan cheese; mix well to combine.
  • Add the pasta shells to the boiling water and cook for 8 minutes; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cold running water. Set aside.
  • Stuff the pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place them in the prepared dish.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the remaining chopped onion until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of garlic and cook until fragrant about 20-30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes and salt + black pepper, cook for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce is reduced in volume by about 1/3, about 10-15 minutes. Add the basil to the sauce and pour the sauce over the shells.
  • Sprinkle the fontina and the remaining Parmesan cheese all over the stuffed shells. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10-15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!