Sunday, 29 November 2020

Stuffed cheese and spinach jumbo pasta shells

Sylvia has been trying a few foods with spinach and cheese filling lately.  So I thought if I did some really simple spinach and cheese stuffed pasta shells she would like them.  I did a really simple tomato sauce and that was a vegetable too far.  So she ate plain pasta shells while I really enjoyed the stuffed ones.  I had a little of the filling leftover to put in some pastry for her that was a hit!

I bought the ingredients before looking up the recipe.  As I stood at the deli at the supermarket, when I was asked what I wanted, I guessed I would need soft ricotta and Dodoni feta .  They are not cheeses I eat a lot so I thought I would be able to buy smaller amounts in the deli.  It turned out to be close enough for jazz.

The pasta shells were easy to work with and tasted delicious with the filling and a nice plain tomato sauce.  I added a lot of garlic and lemon juice to the Kraft recipe because it was a bit creamy for my tastes.  Once cooked they were still quite garlicky but that was fine once in the mix.  I was sad Sylvia would not eat them with the tomato sauce but I happily ate her portions and they lasted a few nights. 

I really loved this recipe that I made on a low energy day back in October when we were still in lockdown and diagnoses each day were in double figures.  At that time it seemed impossible that we might reach a month of no diagnoses or deaths.  Now that we are in a better place, diagnoses-wise I am dreaming of perhaps having dinner parties one day.  This would be a suitably easy and impressive dish to serve up to guests.  But it works just as well to eat quietly in lockdown as comfort food.

More baked pasta recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Baked gnocchi with radicchio, gorgonzola and walnuts

Fennel and lentil lasagne (v)
Leftovers pasta bake
Neofolk Buckwheat Pasta Bake (gf)
Pumpkin and tofu ricotta cannelloni (v)
Simple vegetarian lasagne
Red capsicum and mozzarella pasta bake
Spaghetti pie (v)

Stuffed cheese and spinach jumbo pasta shells
Adapted from Kraft
Serves 3-4

15 jumbo pasta shells  

250g frozen chopped spinach
175g ricotta
150g feta, crumbled
1 tbsp lemon juice (half a smallish lemon)
2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
black pepper

Tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Italian herbs
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
good pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta shells until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

While pasta cooks, make the cheese and spinach filling.  First microwave the frozen spinach for 2-3 minutes until defrosted.  Once defrosted, place in a sieve and use a spoon to squeeze as much liquid out as possible.  (I had my sieve over a small bowl and used this water in the tomato sauce.)  Mix with ricotta, about 125g of feta, lemon juice, crushed garlic, and black pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Make tomato sauce.  Fry onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and fry another couple of minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in herbs and then pour in tinned tomatoes and about half the tin of water (including water from the spinach if you set it aside for this sauce).  Add tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil and simmer about 5-10 minutes until sauce slightly thickens.  Puree with a blender.

To assemble: Tip about two thirds of the sauce into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  The shells should have cooled by now.  Stuff each shell with a generous dessertspoon of stuffing.  Place on the tomato sauce.  Drizzle remaining tomato sauce over the shells and crumble the last 25g of feta over the sauce.

Bake in a 220 C oven for 20-30 minutes.  (I did 30.)  They will be warmed through and I like my sauce bubbly and thickened.

On the Stereo:
Super Trouper: ABBA


  1. These look absolutely delicious!

  2. Your pasta shells look delicious and totally classic with the spinach, cheese and tomato. I haven't made pasta shells in ages and should do so.

    I love how your spinach comes in little frozen portions- very convenient.

  3. I adore stuffed pasta shells too! How are you guys taking to the new rules and freedoms? It took me a while to get used to and some habits still remain like I get a bit alarmed when I see a crowd of people!

  4. These stuffed pasta shells look delicious! A great combination.


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)