Any vegetarian pasta dish is good enough for me any time, any day, but this ricotta and spinach one, to me and my whole family, is comfort food at its very best!
And I'm so sure you totally agree.
In a cold winter day and not only it’s something that anyone would need for comfort, a nice pasta dish like this one.
I did not grow up eating a lot of pasta. The only pasta that I remember having as a kid and my mum or grandmas were making was a sweet option for breakfast boiled in milk which was lovely – very similar to a rice pudding with pasta instead. The pasta used in that was usually a smaller one such as angel hair or tiny mini little shapes. I’m also making it for my kids every now and again and they love it. they actually ask for it.
The other pasta I remember having as a kid was one that was my dad’s speciality which was a desert or breakfast if any left overs – a macaroni with sugar and sheep cheese – it was to die for. He used to put some vanilla or lemon zest and it was always a treat for us the kids. I miss those days I have to say with nostalgia but at the same time with a little sens of melancholy. Melancholy because it reminds me how many years have passed and that all my grannies have gone ;-( This is life I suppose
Let me get to more cheerful bits now and going back to these childhood dishes, I am thinking that I might actually put those recipes up on my blog one day as I think many would actually love them – you never know 😂
Getting back to this beautiful savoury filled pasta shells, the outcome is magnificent indeed and truly yummy, it’s pretty similar to a cannelloni one or even a vegetarian lasagna.
I’m not sure how you feel but for me a good pasta dish is signed by the pasta used. The pasta that I'm using, the shape of it it's what really does it for me. I’m strange I know, I was told this many times 😂😊 so I know it – ha ha
The ricotta cheese and the spinach combination is another one of those combos to really enjoy to the max.
But here it comes the recipe and no more talking from this point onwards 😉 👍👇
Pasta shells filled with spinach and ricotta cheese
Cook the pasta for about 5 min until the shells are becoming bigger and easy to fill. I would recommend to cook them half way so if the pack says 10 min you cook them for 4-5 min. Keep an eye on those so they are not overly cooked. (See recipe notes for some tips)
Wash the spinach and cook for 2 minutes in a frying pan with a sprinkle of water or milk if you want, a pinch of salt, one of pepper and some freshly ground nutmeg. When finish turn heat off and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl mix the ricotta cheese with 3/4 (180g) of the grated cheese, another pinch of nutmeg and add the spinach. Mix well.
Prepare the baking dish (20cm x 30cm) and start filling the shells with roughly about a tbsp of cheese and spinach mixture until you have finished all shells and the cheese.
Pour over (evenly) the tomato sauce and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 C.
Half way through, take the dish out and sprinkle the remaining (90g) of the grated cheese. Place back in the oven and bake till nice and golden brown.
When finish baking take out of the oven and serve with a light sprinkle of Parmesan on top.
It is..... Delicious 😋!!
While pasta boils, prepare one big bowl/pot with cold water 1-2l so that the pasta can be placed in there as soon as it's finished with the boiling. Drain and quickly put it in the super cold water. It stops the pasta from cooking any further and prevents it from sticking.
I was saying that this recipe serves 4 people, yes indeed, 4 very hungry ones 😊 or 6 as a second dish that would be followed by a dessert. Although if any left over I have to say it is yummy in anyone's tummy the next day too. 😋
Since this dish contains quite a bit of cheese I normally don't grease or butter my oven dish but instead I sometimes coat the bottom and edges with a bit of tomato sauce. The pasta won't stick anyway more than it would with butter or tomato juice so feel free to leave it as it is if you fancy. Just like I did this time. 😀
Instead of plain tomato sauce you could also use any ready made pasta tomato sauce like Bolognese or any one you normally like or just have handy.