We decided to tackle a classic - pasta shells with spinach and ricotta- and take it up a notch by changing up the cheeses and adding homemade bacon bits. It turned out all kinds of delicious. Totally kid-friendly but gorgeous enough to serve to company. We predict you'll love it.
|1/2||box of large pasta shells, cooked according to package directions|
|1 1/2 cups||1 % cottage cheese (or ricotta)|
|1/3 cup||herbed goat cheese, crumbled|
|3 cups||fresh baby spinach, packed|
|1/3 cup||breadcrumbs (plain or Italian)|
|3/4 cup||parmesan cheese, divided in half|
|1 tsp||garlic powder|
|1/2 tsp||salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste|
|2 or 3 dashes Tabasco sauce (or to taste)|
|6||strips of bacon, diced and prepared as 'bacon bits' (see video)|
|3 cups||homemade or good quality jarred tomato sauce|
|Chopped fresh parsley (optional)|
Prepare the bacon as seen in the video and let cool.
Wilt the spinach in a sautee pan. Let cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the cottage cheese and goat cheese in a food processor or blender. Process until combined and smooth but not too smooth. Add the spinach and whizz a couple more times until combined.
Remove the mixture to a bowl, and mix in the egg, breadcrumbs, 1/2 of the parmesan, bacon, and seasonings. If you're not shy about the egg, give it a little taste and see if it needs anything else (for example, we added a little more hot sauce.)
Cover the bottom of a 9 x12 (ish) baking dish with tomato sauce (maybe a 1/2 inch deep). One by one, stuff the shells with about 1 1/2 tbsp of the cheese and bacon mixture and place in the baking dish. You may or may not have some shells still left over. This sort of thing isn't exactly precise.
Top the shells generously with tomato sauce and more parmesan. If you'd like, you can also sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the parmesan is melted and everything is heated through
Perfect for everyday dinner or when company's coming.
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