I should say that Giada is the inspiration for this recipe, and not the source since I changed so many things! When I initially planned to make this meal I was going to used the ground turkey the recipe calls for, but the price is soooo much more than hamburger, that I couldn't really justify the expense. Maybe eventually I'll try ground turkey.
We've had the stuff for this recipe for awhile, but with my lack of desire to cook it just kept getting put off. H finally decided that he wanted to make it, with a good dose of my assistance!
- 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- black pepper
- 1 package spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (used 4 tsp dried basil)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (used 2 tsp dried parsley)
- 5 cups prepared marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.
- Add the spinach and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a large bowl combine the cooled beef mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marinara sauce.
- Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of beef mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells.
- Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella.
- To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.