meatless friday ~ spinach and artichoke stuffed shells

This recipe was a HUGE success.
My guys did not miss the meat for a second. 
Lent begins next Wednesday. As a Roman Catholic this means no meat on Ash Wednesday or Friday's throughout the six week penitential season. I am always looking for new recipes to try that are meatless since we keep to the old rules and do not eat meat on Friday's throughout the year. So I thought as a motivation for me and hopefully a help to those of your who also follow this religious practice, I would only post meatless recipes for the next six weeks. 

Oh I can see my boys sweating it out now.


As you know, I live with two major carnivores. My hubby grew up in Oklahoma, the land of beef, beef and more beef. Throw in a little hog and he is in...well...hog heaven. 

Yes, I really did just type that. 

Anyway, both he and my son are not big veggie eaters either so any opportunity that I have to throw something green their way, I take it.  This recipe had TWO veggies and enough cheese to mask any healthy taste that might possibly spoil the final dish. The Quick Tomato Sauce I make in large batches and freeze so I have it on hand at all times. It is fabulous all by it's lonesome on pasta or your favorite Chicken Parm. 

So let's get cooking. I look forward to exploring a variety of different cultures through their food and am looking forward to getting into a vegetarian state of mind. I will also post a recipe on Tasty Tuesday's so there will be two entries a week.

I hope that you will leave comments when you try these recipes. It's always so wonderful to here form you all. 

Celebrate the Feast!
there's cheese, spinach, more cheese and spinach and artichokes...yummo!
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

18 to 20 jumbo pasta shells
1 batch of Quick Tomato Sauce
(see below)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
ground black pepper
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed and wrung dry
1 (14-ounce) can of artichoke hearts (marinated or plain...your choice), chopped
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
2 cups grated mozzarella OR provolone OR asiago cheese (divided)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells, and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a long-handled spoon to prevent the shells from sticking together. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper and the dry herbs, and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl stir in the ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Add drained spinach to mixture. Stir.

Spread a layer of sauce in a 9" x 13" baking dish.

Drizzle tomato sauce on the bottom of baking pan. Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoon of the spinach-artichoke mixture, arranging them in the prepared baking dish as you complete them.

Pour the remaining sauce over the filled shells and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

recipe adapted from The Kitchen Boss
Quick Tomato Sauce
recipe from America's Test Kitchen

Makes 3 cups, enough for 1 pound of pasta
This full-flavored tomato sauce takes only 15 minutes to prepare. High-quality canned tomatoes will make a big difference in this sauce. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (see note)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  Table salt
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  Ground black pepper

Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Mary L. on Foodista

Labels: , ,