Meat and Spinach- Stuffed Pasta Shells
Serves 8. Recipe is from Shannon Poché.
1 tbl. olive oil
2 lbs. lean ground beef OR a mix of ground beef and ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 or 2 ribs celery, chopped
Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
Pinch of oregano
Fresh basil or parsley to taste, about 2 tbls.
1 (10-oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, cooked according to box directions then squeezed dry
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
12 to 16-oz. pkg. jumbo pasta shells (16 to 18 shells)
1 qt. marinara sauce, either homemade or purchased
Additional 1/2 cup Romano cheese for the top
1. In large skillet, heat olive oil and brown meat. Pour off fat then add onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery. Season with salt and peppers and oregano. Cook until vegetables are tender then remove from heat. Add fresh parsley or basil and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook spinach according to package directions then squeeze dry. Set aside.
3. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Set aside.
4. Add drained spinach, cheese, bread crumbs and beaten eggs to the meat mixture. Stir to blend.
5. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling into each cooked pasta shell.
6. Pour 2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place stuffed shells in single layer over the sauce.
7. Pour desired amount of remaining sauce over the top of the shells and garnish with more Romano cheese.
8. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Note: If I’ve made these ahead of time, I cover the stuffed shells with foil and bake them covered for about 25 minutes then uncover and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly. I sometimes have leftover marinara sauce which I refrigerate to use another time.