Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

When my daughter was young I used to make this dish a lot. It's a great meal to make ahead and freeze. it's also a great vegetarian option if you are having a buffet or a party.

For some reason the shells themselves became hard to find. So I stopped making it. I use the same filling in cannelloni but cannelloni doesn't go as far as when it's in the shells.

Anyway I found a version of them at Harris Farm Markets the other day and they were two bags for$6.
Considering each bag makes 2 trays or enough to feed about 6 people that's still pretty good value.

I don't usually price food out on this blog but this is a great dish for a party or for feeding lots of people cheaply.

Here's how I'd do it for entertaining a group:

1 wheel of ricotta $8.99
2 bags pasta $6
3 boxes frozen spinach $2.70
1 bag shredded mozzarella $5
1 bag shredded Parmesan $4
2 eggs $1
herbs & garlic
Spaghetti sauce 4 jars or big batch homemade $4

Total: About $32 that would feed 24 people, maybe more...or $1.33 a serve. Add some bread and salad and that is some bargain entertaining.

I happened to buy silver beet fresh and use that this time but that's more work and I wouldn't do that for a group.

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells
1 bunch silver beet, stems removed and finely chopped
1 500g bag pasta shells
500g ricotta
1 cup Parmesan
2 garlic cloves
1 onion diced
teaspoon mixed/Italian herbs
1 egg
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 baking dishes lightly sprayed with oil.(I used one regular and a foil one to freeze the second batch)

1. Place silver beet, garlic, herbs and olive oil in a large sauce pan and stir fry till wilted.
2. Combine ricotta, egg and Parmesan in a large bowl. Stir in wilted silver beet.
3. Spoon ricotta mix into shells and place filled shells in a single layer in baking dishes.

4. Put spaghetti sauce in large saucepan and dilute by rinsing jars with hot water to get all sauce out. When warm pour over shells. You want the shells submerged.
5. Sprinkle with mozzarella. (can be frozen at this point).
6. Bake in a moderate oven 30-40 minutes. (You can tell it's done when you can stab a knife through the shells).
7. Serve with a nice salad.


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