The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

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Level: Easy

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Description

Jumbo pasta shells stuffed full with ricotta cheese and spinach then smothered in a hearty meat sauce. Perfect meal for a cold winter night.

Ingredients

  • 1 box Jumbo Pasta Shells, 12 Ounce Box
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Small Onion, Diced Small
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 32 ounces, weight Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 whole Eggs, Beaten
  • ½ cups Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1-½ jar Favorite Spaghetti/Marinara Sauce (25.5 Ounce Jar)
  • 1-½ cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Preparation

1. Cook the jumbo shells according to instructions on the box. Use the timing for al dente (slightly firm). When done, drain them, separate any shells that are stuck together and set aside.

2. In a medium sized saute pan heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the spinach mixture to a strainer or colander and squeeze the water out of it. Place it on a cutting board and chop it up with a knife. This will ensure that there are no big stem pieces and everything will distribute evenly into the ricotta.

3. Using the same pan that you used for the spinach mixture brown your ground beef on medium-high heat. Once the beef is all the way browned, drain the meat and place it back in the pan. Add one full jar of tomato sauce to it. Leave it on low so that it heats through.

4. In a large bowl place the ricotta cheese, spinach mixture, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. Stir until very well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a large casserole or lasagna pan, coat the bottom of the pan with the other half jar of tomato sauce (you might save a little in case you end up having to use another pan—see note below). Fill your shells with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture and lay them in the pan. Once the pan is full, cover the shells with the meat sauce and then the shredded mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and turn heat up to 385 F and cook for 15 minutes more to let the edges brown and get a little crispy. Enjoy!

*Note: When I make these it doesn’t use every single shell from the box, but I find it easier to cook the whole thing rather than guess how many I might need. Also if you run out of room in your pan, you may need use a second pan of shells. I always do, so make sure to spread out your sauce and cheese accordingly.

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