Pasta Risotto & You

By Nancy Caivano


Spinach and Roasted Pepper
Stuffed Shells

Serves 6-8



2 lbs. dry large shells
1 recipe tomato sauce 3 red bell peppers
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 tbsp. jar garlic)
12-oz spinach, washed well and torn, stems removed
3 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (or 5 tbsp. dry)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided


Cook shells carefully in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook only halfway according to package directions. Drain, and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

Bring tomato sauce to heat, and set aside.

Place washed peppers directly on oven rack in a 500 degree F oven (or highest heat it will go to). Roast peppers until blackened. Remove from heat and place in a zip top plastic bag until room temperature. Peel, remove seeds and ribs, and chop. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until soft. Add spinach, and sauté just until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In large bowl combine ricotta, eggs, Romano, parsley and 1 cup mozzarella; combine well. Stir in peppers and spinach and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble:
The easiest way to stuff the shells is to use a pastry bag with no tip attached. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with tomato sauce. Fill each shell to the top, and place in the pan. You can place the shells in rows, touching. When all shells are in the pan, cover with more sauce, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, and a little more parsley.

Bake for 1 hour, covered. Remove cover and bake for 30 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

The shells can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, covered well. To heat if frozen, thaw to room temp in refrigerator and bake as above, or place into oven frozen, on 200 degree F, until knife goes through shell easily. Bring temp up to 350 degree F, and bake as directed.


Tomato Sauce


4 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 tbsp. jar garlic)
2 cans crushed tomatoes (if you cant find it,
   use whole peeled tomatoes and
   throw it in the blender or food processor)
1 can tomato purée
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or 3 tbsp. dry)
1/4 cup chiffonade (julienne) basil (or 1 tbsp. dry)
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until just beginning to brown. Add tomatoes, purée, and wine, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

After 1 hour, add herbs and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, uncovered another 30 minutes.

This sauce can be made ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Pasta, Risotto and You


This page created December 1998