Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Growing up south of Philly in the good old days of riding bikes, going to a friend's house down the street so you could play, having your Mom yell out for dinner time (because you weren't that far away and could hear her) seems like eons ago.  Depends how old you are as to what age you think is old.  Perhaps the gauge there is anyone 25 years older than you is .... old.  These are memories from 50 years ago. Yeah.


There were neighborhoods with a predominantly Italian population and those just a jiggle northeast with a larger Irish population.  I lived in a neighborhood with many Italian families and can say, I loved it. Most of my friends were from big Italian families and I was absorbed with the lot, always being fed and included in whatever was going on.  So maybe I'm Italian by osmosis ...and it shows in my meal planning at times.

I. Love. Pasta.


These stuffed shells weren't that difficult to prepare but took some time. Worth every minute of it, I attest to that here. I used the jumbo shells so three was a decent serving.


Here is a recipe for 24 shells in case a large batch is needed.  For just the two of us I cut it down by half and it still gave us leftovers. Cheesy and spinach laden - perfect.

Spinach and Cottage Cheese Stuffed Shells
24 jumbo pasta shells
1 15-oz. container cottage cheese
 2 cups shredded Mozzarella
 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan 
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
Salt and pepper 
1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 
Roughly 3 cups homemade sauce or 1 26 oz. jar marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 375ºF. For the full recipe use a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.  Place a bit of sauce in the bottom and spread evenly. Cook pasta shells according to package label directions; drain and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
Stuff shells with cheese-and-spinach mixture and place in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.  Or you can cut back to your personal taste in the amount of cheese (obviously).
Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.  I screwed up and placed it in the oven without foil at first so, had to bake it longer. Lesson learned about paying attention.

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series


Vicki said...

This sounds easy, and good. I think I'd like it, but I know my daughter and her family would love it. They eat pasta a lot.

Tina said...

Vicki, I am a lover of pasta and these are very good. Not a hard meal at all!

Beth F said...

I love pasta! My husband grew up in the Philly area and one of his sisters married into an Italian family ... such awesome Italian food in that city and suburbs. This looks easy and delicious.

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

Yes, I grew up like that!

I'll admit, and it is the oddest thing, but I eat almost anything but if asked pasta is usually bottom of the list. But it probably is John's favourite, but now being gluten free, it is harder to eat it out.

Mae Travels said...

Every American city seems to have its own brand of Italian food -- that's the best thing about it! The Italians of St. Louis where I came from seem to be responsible for "toasted" ravioli (actually deep-fried) and Chicago gave us deep-dish pizza. And so on! Don't be fooled: Olive Garden copied everyone, but they don't deserve the credit!

This Philly version really looks delicious.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Wendy Klik said...

We are in the same age bracket. My mom used to whistle for us. Love stuffed shells. YUM

Claudia said...

I grew up in a Southern California neighborhood where we played in our dead-end street, mostly baseball, and came reluctantly in when called for dinner. It's been way too long since I stuffed those jumbo pasta shells. Looks delish!

Carole said...

spinach and cottage cheese - yes! Cheers from Carole

Marg said...

This sounds delicious!!

Katherine P said...

I do love pasta! The neighborhood I grew up in didn't really have a cultural identity which is kind of sad but I do remember the riding bikes and all that. So much fun and not something that really happens now!

Seven Hour Lamb with White Beans <br>{ make that less than 2 hours in the Instant Pot}</br>

It's good to get back to posting about food after a short break. Next year I will be getting a flu shot; this bout knocked me for a loop...