Pasta Shells With Zucchini & Spinach

“I've taken this dish to pot lucks & served it at many dinner parties........ always received rave reviews. It can be served as the main dish or as a side dish. Personally, I like it pared with Chicken Parmesan & garlic bread. It requires a LOT of preparation (I've estimated the time) but you will not regret it. It can be made in advance & refrigerated or frozen.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. FILLING: Melt butter over medium heat in a large, heavy dutch oven.
  2. Add onions& garlic; cook until onions are tender& wilted, stirring occasionally.
  3. PREPARE ZUCCHINI: Wash well, taste a bit of the skin from each& peel only if it tastes bitter.
  4. Grate& place in a colander in the sink.
  5. sprinkle with about 2 tsps of salt& let excess liquid drain for 30 minutes.
  6. Rinse with cold water to remove most of the salt& then toss on a clean tea towel (or paper towels) to dry before cooking.
  7. Add drained zucchini to dutch oven& cook until any moisture evaporates.
  8. PREPARE SPINACH: Wash well& trim off tough stems.
  9. Place leaves, with water from washing still clinging to them, in a large pot.
  10. Cook for a few minutes or just until leaves have wilted.
  11. Let cool, then wring dry in a clean tea towel& chop.
  12. Add spinach to the dutch oven and combine thoroughly.
  13. Remove from heat& allow the mixture to cool.
  14. Drain off excess liquid.
  15. Beat eggs in a medium sized bowl; add ricotta& beat until smooth.
  16. Add Parmesan and seasonings; mix well.
  17. Combine with vegetable mixture in the dutch oven, mix thoroughly; set aside.
  18. SAUCE: Melt butter in large, heavy pot; cook onions& garlic until tender and wilted.
  19. Add tomatoes, including their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  20. Cook for 30- 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  21. Purée and test for seasonings.
  22. Set aside.
  23. Pasta: Cook shells in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions until"el dente".
  24. Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and prevent sticking.
  25. Using a colander, gently shake shells to drain excess water.
  26. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish.
  27. Spoon some of the filling into each shell& arrange, stuffed side up, in the casserole dish.
  28. Pour sauce over the shells& sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  29. (If you can only find small shells, just layer them on the bottom of the casserole dish, cover with a layer of filling, a layer of sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan).
  30. Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes or until heated through and bubbling.

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