Baked Spinach Pasta Shells

These large pasta shells are stuffed with a delicious spinach and ricotta filling. This recipe makes a great hearty, comforting, crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner.

Substitute:

  • No conchiglioni? Use cannelloni pasta. Follow the same process, stuff the cannelloni, place in the tomato sauce and bake. 
  • No onion? You can make the sauce with only chopped tomatoes and seasonings. Or replace the onion for shallot, red onion, celery or even carrot. 
  • No ricotta? Use mascarpone instead. You can also add mozzarella or grated parmesan on top of the pasta before baking. 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

Total time: 80 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

200 g Spinach

1 Onion (chopped)

2 Tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp Oregano

1 tbsp Olive oil

Lemon zest (of half a lemon)

160 g Ricotta cheese  / vegan ricotta style cheese

200 g Conchiglioni pasta

1 tbsp Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Recipe:

  1. Make the tomato sauce: Place the chopped tomatoes and 2 glasses of water in a food processor. Blend until smooth. In a large saucepan, fry the onion, garlic and oregano in a little olive oil, for 5 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper, and pour in the tomato juice. Simmer for 15 minutes. The tomato sauce should be a little watery - don't worry, it will dry down in the oven. 
  2. Make the spinach filling: In a frying pan, wilt the spinach along with the garlic for 3-5 minutes. Season and squeeze excess moisture. Chop a little the wilted spinach, and place in a bowl, along with the ricotta/vegan cheese and lemon zest. Mix to combine, and place into a piping bag. 
  3. Stuff the shells: Preheat the oven to 200C/180 fan/6 gas mark. Pour the tomato sauce into a shallow baking dish. Stuff each pasta shell with a generous amount of the spinach mixture, and place in the baking dish, open side up. Gently push the pasta shells in the sauce. 
  4. Bake the spinach pasta shells: Cover the baking dish with foil to create a steam and evenly cook the pasta. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered. 
A plate of baked spinach pasta shells next to the oven tray with the rest in it.

How to store

Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Leftovers

The baked pasta shells can be eaten hot or cold. Cold, they would make a great addition to a green salad. Leftover tomato sauce can be used as a simple pasta tomato sauce. Toss in al dente pasta along with a little pasta water and serve. The spinach ricotta mixture would make a great filling for homemade raviolis. Homemade pasta sheets can be made from pasta flour and egg.