Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells

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Cheesy goodness for dinner


The most challenging part of this recipe might be laying hands on the large shells in the grocery store. I usually have good luck at my local Krogers.

The second challenge is locating the mascarpone cheese. Hunt for it in the deli section, not where the more common Cheddar and Mozzarella hang out.

Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, assembling this dish is simple.  Less complicated than lasagna in my book.

The easiest part, of course, is eating it. With gooey cheese, flavorful spinach and mushrooms, and pasta shells bathed in your favorite marinara, who can resist?

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After boiling, the shells are easy to stuff. Use surgical gloves if messy mixtures gross you out.

I make these without meat although some chicken or Italian sausage would certainly pump up the protein numbers and expand the flavor profile. Leave out the spinach and mushrooms if they aren’t your favorite. Then you could call them 4-Cheese Stuffed Shells.

Speaking of the cheese, I incorporated homemade ricotta cheese, but only because I have a lot of it in the house at the moment. I’m currently experimenting with making ricotta using the whey from Greek yogurt. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post. Meanwhile, store-bought ricotta works fine.

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I prefer to grate my own mozzarella and parmesan for better melting.

This dish is happy to be frozen after baking. Individual portions are quickly microwaved for an instant dinner.

Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells
 
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Italian/Vegetarian
Serves: 5-6
 
Ingredients
  • ½ box Jumbo Shells
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach (small bag)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shredded and divided
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 24 ounce jar marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Cook shells in boiling water for 9 minutes. Stir several times to keep them from sticking to the bottom. Drain and place on a cookie sheet to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet and add mushrooms. Saute until browned. Remove from pan to medium mixing bowl. Add spinach and garlic to hot skillet and saute until wilted. Drain well in a colander, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove as much moisture as possible. Chop and add to mushrooms.
  3. Combine ricotta, mascarpone, half of Parmesan, and half of Mozzarella with spinach and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Fill each shell with spinach and mushroom and cheese mixture.
  5. Add water to half of prepared sauce and pour it into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish. Place shells on top of the sauce, open side up.
  6. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the shells. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over shells
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa September 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I can say this was spectacular! It made enough for me to offer some to my mother in law and a few for leftovers on this back to school night!!! And I’m *very* excited about your next post about ricotta cheese from yogurt whey!! Since I saved mine from the last batch earlier this week!

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Paula September 20, 2013 at 8:59 am

Watch for ricotta cheese this weekend.

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Mushrooms Canada September 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm

This recipe is just too amazing! Flavours we all love with a more simplistic take. Thanks for sharing!!

-Shannon

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Tae September 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm

These are on the menu for next week. I’ll definitely be adding Sweet Italian Sausage since my husband pouts when I give him meatless dinners. =)

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Sandy Coughlin September 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

This would be perfect for a dinner party! I’ll definitely have to try it. Thanks!

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Paula September 16, 2013 at 8:42 am

Sandy,
I agree. This dish is company-worthy and fairly rich so you wouldn’t want to be eating it every day. 🙂

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Julie September 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I made these tonight, and you were right, I had to go to two stores before I could find the shells…I doubled the recipe bc I only have 8×11 dish pans and I wanted to freeze some for later (not realizing how much this made…we got through half a pan with a family of 5)… anyway, I inadvertently used only one 8 oz mascarpone for both batches combined…but it still came out DELICIOUS!! Thanks again for posting such yummy thungs! I have a hard time trusting cookbooks, but I know when I pick something off of your aite to make, it’s going to be awesome! Thanks again!

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Julie September 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

OMG! This looks delish! I’m going to the store later, so this will definitely be on my grocery list! Thanks!

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Gary September 8, 2013 at 7:53 am

Paul: I love stuffed shells and this looks delicious! Great recipe as is or as a springboard for adding more “stuff” (couldn’t resist the pun) such as sausage. As always…beautiful pics.

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Paula September 8, 2013 at 7:22 am

My husband would love these just as they are and I would love them stuffed with bits of chicken. Great that this is freezable! Perfect for taking to a friend/neighbour in need 🙂

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Gina September 7, 2013 at 7:43 am

Looks tasty! Have you tried making your own mascarpone? It’s on our list to try because its so expensive. I’m looking forward to your post on ricotta from whey. We’ve tried making ricotta from the whey left after making mozzarella without much success.

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Paula September 7, 2013 at 8:05 am

Hey Gina,
Haven’t tried making mascarpone. I don’t need to be eating this stuff very often so the price is worth the occasional treat. Also haven’t tried making Mozzarella. Would love to try yours.

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Gina September 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I used my mom’s Matfer strainer making mozzarella earlier this week, and finally decided to break down and get one. Ordered it tonight and will have it by Tuesday. I tried straining my yogurt a couple of weeks ago to see if I liked it better, and it was really good. Thanks for all the good advice!

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