Spinach ricotta stuffed shells | RecipeTin Eats

There’s no must pre-cook shells earlier than you stuff them. Such a ache messing round with scorching floppy shells! Simply bake in a great deal of sauce and so they’ll cook dinner within the oven. These jumbo shells, referred to as conchiglioni in Italian, are full of spinach and ricotta. Serve with a Mega Italian Salad and garlic bread for the proper dinner.

Close up photo of Spinach ricotta stuffed shells

Stuffed shells

I don’t know if you happen to’ve ever tried, however stuffing scorching cooked pasta shells is a nightmare. Slipper suckers that they’re, and so they break so simply.

There’s no must undergo by way of all that! It’s a lot simpler to stuff uncooked, raw pasta shells and cook dinner them within the oven just by overlaying them in a LOT of sauce. It 100% works. It’s the best way I’ve been cooking cannelloni/manicotti all my life.

The trick is just to begin with a big quantity of watery sauce that the pasta shells cook dinner in. Not dissimilar to cooking pasta in a pot of boiling water, truly. And by the top, that watery sauce reduces down into a beautiful thick pasta sauce!

This technique of cooking additionally offers with one other pet-peeve of mine: dry pasta shells. No worries about that right here, we find yourself with loads of tomato sauce for serving!

Freshly baked Spinach ricotta stuffed shells

What you want for stuffed pasta shells

Whereas there’s many stuffing choices for pasta shells, the preferred might be spinach and ricotta and that’s what I’ve gone with right now. Sorry for being predictable? 🙂

Jumbo shells (conchiglioni)

Jumbo shells (conchiglioni is the right Italian title) are extra available lately in Australian grocery shops (Woolies, Coles, Harris Farms) and the first motive I went on a stuffed shells bender.

They’re somewhat dearer than typical pasta shapes – round $5 for a 500g / 1 lb packet. However they go additional. You’ll want 250g / 8 oz for this recipe which serves 5 generously, probably 6. (Let me remind you, I’ve a slightly strong urge for food! My serving parts will not be skimpy).

The spinach ricotta stuffing

Right here’s what you want for the stuffing. Precisely the identical mixture I exploit for spinach ricotta cannelloni, spinach ricotta rolls and the fan-favourite spinach ricotta rotolo.

For a meat choice, use the meat filling in Beef Cannelloni as a substitute.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells ingredients
  • Spinach – use frozen for comfort (thaw, take away extra water earlier than utilizing), or recent if you happen to’ve received an abundance of it

  • Ricotta – you should definitely use a meals high quality full fats, creamy one. Tip for Australians: keep away from Excellent Italiano tub within the fridge aisle of main supermarkets. It’s fairly powdery and unsightly. My favorite is Paesanella which is offered at Harris Farms and over the deli counter at giant supermarkets.

  • Shredded cheese – A flavoured one is greatest, like cheddar, tasty, gruyere. Save the mozzarella for the topping (which melts nicely however doesn’t have that a lot flavour).

  • Parmesan – don’t skip this! It provides further savouriness and seasoning to the filling. Simply retailer purchased finely shredded or grated is ok, or grate your personal.

  • Garlic – as a result of it makes every thing higher

  • Egg – for binding.

  • Nutmeg – optionally available, however it’s a beautiful contact. I exploit it in nearly all my spinach ricotta fillings.

  • Salt and pepper

The sauce

I discover this technique of cooking stuffed shells from uncooked works greatest with a clean pasta sauce slightly than one with lumps of crushed or diced tomatoes. The shells cook dinner extra evenly and when it finishes baking, you’re left with a beautiful clean pasta sauce.

Ingredients in Spinach ricotta stuffed shells
  • Tomato passata – Pureed, strained plain tomatoes, generally labelled “tomato puree” within the US (right here’s a photograph of Mutti tomato passata offered at Walmart). Available in Australian supermarkets these days, alongside pasta sauces. Glorious for making clean sauces slightly than simmering for ages to breakdown crushed or diced tomato. Extra on tomato passata right here.

    Substitutes – US Hunt’s tomato sauce is an ideal various. In any other case, use crushed canned tomato then puree (like I do for cannelloni/,manicotti).

  • Eschalots –Often known as French onions, and referred to as “shallots” within the US. They seem like child onions, however have purple-skinned flesh, are finer and sweeter. To not be confused with what some folks in Australia name “shallots” ie the lengthy inexperienced onions.

    I like utilizing eshalots slightly than onions as a result of they’re finer so that they nearly disappear into the sauce so that you get a beautiful clean sauce. Nonetheless, you may substitute with a small onion.

  • Herbs and spices – Recent garlic, bay leaf, dried thyme and dried oregano.

  • Tomato paste – To accentuate the tomato flavour and thicken the sauce barely.

  • White wine – Provides depth of flavour / complexity into the sauce in a approach solely wine can! It’s just one/3 of a cup and we simmer to cook dinner out the alcohol. Substitute with extra inventory, or simply skip it.

  • Vegetable inventory – We want an entire litre / quart (4 cups) as a result of we’re making a LOT of VERY watery sauce right here! Simply watch the video and also you’ll see the way it all will get absorbed by the pasta shells, abandoning a beautiful thickened pasta sauce for serving.

  • Sugar – Only a smidge, to take the bitter edge off the tomato paste we’re utilizing (tomato paste is bitter!).

Methods to make stuffed shells

It’s truly extraordinarily straight ahead and the recipe has a pleasant circulation to it: make the sauce first, then whereas it’s simmering, stuff the shells. Then assemble and bake!

Methods to make sauce for stuffed shells

How to make Spinach ricotta stuffed shells
  1. Sauté aromatics – Prepare dinner the garlic and eschalots with the herbs in a big saucepan or small pot.

  2. Tomato paste and wine – Prepare dinner off the tomato paste for 1 minute (this takes the uncooked bitter edge off and deepens the flavour) then add the wine and simmer quickly on excessive warmth till it’s principally evaporated.

  3. Simmer 20 minutes – Add the remaining components then simmer on low for 20 minutes with the lid off.

  4. Watery sauce! The sauce might be VERY watery and there might be masses. Have religion! You want all of it – the shells soak up most of that liquid. Maintain the sauce scorching – we need to use it scorching.

Stuffing & bake

How to make Spinach ricotta stuffed shells
  1. Stuffing – Combine the spinach ricotta stuffing components collectively.

  2. Stuff the uncooked raw shells. I discover it best to make use of a small offset spatula (like a butter knife with a bend in it, tremendous helpful kitchen software). Else a knife, spoon – no matter you discover makes it best for you.

  3. Assemble – Pour the new sauce right into a 23 x 33cm / 9 x 13″ baking dish. Then gently place the pasta shells in. They are going to be principally submerged, some may semi-float. However you need most if not all the pasta submerged beneath liquid so it cooks evenly (a bit poking above is ok as it should steam-cook).

  4. Bake 70 min lined – Cowl the dish with a baking tray (or foil) and bake for 70 minutes. Sure, actually, it should take that lengthy!

    Why a baking tray? Simple technique to cowl the baking dish, no waste, no burning your self, and it lets somewhat little bit of steam escape to assist the sauce cut back simply the correct amount.

  5. 15 min bake, cheesed – Take away the baking dish from the oven. Sprinkle with cheese then bake for an additional quarter-hour till bubbly and golden.

  6. Serve! Scoop and serve. Marvel at how the shells are completely al dente and the way there’s a lot beautiful sauce to serve it with!

Spinach ricotta stuffed shells fresh out of the oven
Bowl of Spinach ricotta stuffed shells

Serve with a fast rocket balsamic salad (that’s arugula, to these of you within the States!) or if you happen to’re out to impress, a Mega Italian Salad (it lives as much as its title). Add a aspect of garlic bread and tiramisu to complete, and that’s just about my thought of an ideal dinner. When am I coming over?? – Nagi x

Watch methods to make it

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Spinach ricotta stuffed shells close up photo

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells (Conchiglioni)

Servings5 – 6 folks

Faucet or hover to scale

Recipe VIDEO above. There is no must fiddle stuffing scorching floppy shells. Simply stuff raw jumbo pasta shells and bake in a great deal of sauce! Bonus: The shells soak up the flavour of the sauce, and there is loads of tasty sauce for serving. As a result of no person likes dry pasta shells!



  • 250g / 8 oz frozen chopped spinach , thawed (Be aware 3)
  • 500g / 1 lb ricotta , full fats please (Be aware 4)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan , finely shredded
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Colby, Cheddar, Tasty, Gruyere, Swiss, something!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 giant garlic clove , minced
  • Grated recent nutmeg (only a sprinkling) or 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder (optionally available)
  • 3/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper



  • Sauté – Warmth oil in a small pot over medium excessive warmth. Add garlic, onion, bay leaf, thyme and oregano. Prepare dinner for 3 – 4 minutes till the onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and cook dinner for 1 minute.

  • Cut back wine – Add wine, improve warmth to excessive and let it simmer quickly till principally evaporated (about 2 minutes).

  • Simmer – Add passata, inventory, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir then simmer on low *(uncovered) for 20 minutes. Use whereas scorching.

Assemble & Bake:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan).

  • Stuff – Stuff UNCOOKED shells with spinach ricotta filling. Stuff them full!

  • Assemble – Pour the new tomato sauce in a 23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13″ baking dish. Gently place the stuffed shells in – most might be submerged, some might poke above floor.

  • Bake – Cowl with a baking tray (or foil) then bake for 70 minutes.

  • Cheese it! Verify the shells – they need to be al dente! (If not, return to oven, lined). Sprinkle with mozzarella then parmesan. Bake quarter-hour till melted.

  • Serve, garnished with further parmesan and basil if desired!

Recipe Notes:

1. Eschallots / shallots  – Often known as French onions, and referred to as “shallots” within the US. They seem like child onions, however have purple-skinned flesh, are finer and sweeter. To not be confused with what some folks in Australia name “shallots” ie the lengthy inexperienced onions.
2. Tomato passata – Pureed, strained plain tomatoes, generally labelled “tomato puree” within the US (right here’s a photograph of Mutti tomato passata offered at Walmart). Available in Australian supermarkets these days, alongside pasta sauces. Passata is superb for making clean sauces. Extra on tomato passata right here.
Subs – US Hunt’s tomato sauce is an ideal sub. Also can used crushed canned tomato then puree (like I do for cannelloni/,manicotti).
3. Spinach – I exploit frozen spinach for the comfort and likewise as a result of I’m a sucker for the entire “snap frozen” factor. To make use of recent, use about 500g/1 lb sliced spinach leaves or child spinach leaves, saute with somewhat oil to wilt down and take away extra liquid. Cool then proceed with recipe.
4. Ricotta – Low fats ricotta is more durable and drier, so it’s tougher to pipe into the tubes plus as soon as baked, isn’t as juicy and moist. Keep away from Excellent Italian model in tubs (Australia, Woolies, Coles and so forth), has an disagreeable powderiness about it, I discover. My favorite is Paesanella.
5. Big shells (conchiglioni) – out there at giant grocery shops in Australia lately (Woolies, Coles), additionally Harris Farms (Syd/Bris) and Italian / delis and so forth. No must pre-cook – makes it a nightmare to stuff, the slippery suckers that they’re! Simply want a great deal of skinny pasta sauce.
I do know 250g/8z doesn’t sound like a lot however it actually does serve 5 if not 6 folks (with regular appetites).
6. Leftovers – refrigerate as much as 3 days or freeze, thaw, then reheat lined in microwave for greatest outcomes.
Vitamin per serving, assuming 5 servings (fairly beneficiant). 

Vitamin Data:

Serving: 407gEnergy: 798cal (40%)Carbohydrates: 69g (23%)Protein: 43g (86%)Fats: 39g (60%)Saturated Fats: 20g (125%)Polyunsaturated Fats: 2gMonounsaturated Fats: 13gTrans Fats: 0.004gLdl cholesterol: 145mg (48%)Sodium: 1716mg (75%)Potassium: 1338mg (38%)Fiber: 8g (33%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 8080IU (162%)Vitamin C: 23mg (28%)Calcium: 792mg (79%)Iron: 6mg (33%)

Lifetime of Dozer

Wow. He actually will eat something.


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