What do you do when you have a Costco-sized bag of spinach in your fridge and you're tired of eating salad?
Find your favorite spinach and pasta recipe and you've got a hearty dinner in the making! Technically, this is a Spinach Cannelloni recipe, but as you can see, I skipped the cannelloni part and stuffed some jumbo pasta shells with spinach and ricatta cheese before smothering with a mushroom-filled marinara sauce. It's spinach and pasta and cheese - you can't really go wrong with this trio of ingredients.
The original recipe calls for using egg roll wrappers. You might also try rolling the filling into al denta lasagne noodle strips to make your cannelloni tubes. If you're using fresh spinach, you'll be able to use nearly three-fourths of your Costco bag or you can always thaw and saute two 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach.
Why not make this for your next family dinner?
Spinach and Pasta Recipe (aka Spinach Cannelloni)
20 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons butter
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup Romano cheese
1 cup mozzarella + 1 cup mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 box jumbo shells, cooked al dente, cooled
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 8-ounce package fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
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Prepare the pasta shells by cooking according to box directions for al dente pasta. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to prevent sticking. Set aside.
Prepare the spinach by sautéing half of the fresh spinach a large skillet using 2 tablespoons butter. Cook approximately 3 minutes or until spinach has reduced to one-fourth the original volume. Remove spinach from pan and store in a small mixing bowl. Add second batch of spinach and butter and repeat. Drain any excess liquid and return all spinach to your large sauté pan. Add ricotta cheese and cook another 3 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, nutmeg and eggs. Continue to stir until well blended. Remove from heat.
In a second sauce pan, sauté onions and garlic in butter until onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Short cut - You can also use a store-bought pasta sauce, but jazz it up by allowing to simmer and by adding the extra ingredients above minus the tomatoes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9x13-inch pan, spoon one half of the sauce and spread evenly. Using a spoon, fill the jumbo shells with filling mixture and place in pan. Cover shells with remaining sauce and cover pan with foil. Bake for 30-40 minutes. With 10 minutes bake time left, remove the foil and sprinkle last cup of mozzarella on top. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serves 6-8 dinner portions.
Adapted from Colorado Collage
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