Spinach, mushroom and ricotta stuffed shells

Alright, so I’m on a bit of a ricotta kick.

Having started my three-week internship at the Ottawa Citizen this past week, I’ve been looking for quick and easy meals that wield lots of lunchtime leftovers. This simple pasta dish was the best.

Also, good news: I’ve started jogging again!

TANGENT: those who know me well will know that I can only run under very specific circumstances. Here is that list, my neuroses in the making:
(a) It must be cold out; below freezing is best. This is because I have these ear bags things (like earmuffs without the over-the-head wire) that I use to simultaneously keep my ears warm and keep my apple earbuds in one place. If it’s not cold enough to wear these, I sometimes masking tape the headphones into place. True and sad story.
(b) It must be nighttime. When you were young, did you ever stare out the window while driving through the dark? Everything seems to go by at hyper-speed. The same phenomena applies to running, and I feel like Sonic the Hedgehog with the darkened world zooming by me.
(c) My music choice is very specific. Unlike the buffed up bods that listen to Top 40, catchy dance hits, I need instrumental, slow tracks. If the tempo of a song is too fast, I feel stressed to run faster and keep up with it. Personal favourites right now include my joint Adele/Regina Spektor playlist, Ratatat, Holy Fuck and old Coldplay songs.

There. Now perhaps if you’re looking to start running, these three strange preferences will change that experience for you. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the closest this blog will ever get to being a fitness site.

Back to the meal – this was healthy and delicious and packed with the nutrients I need to go from zero to seven kilometres all in a week. Ouch, shin splints.

PS: I’ve also made a lot of experimental dishes featuring quinoa (I feel another phase coming on), black beans and zucchini. Keep an eye out for a post involving all three in the upcoming days…

Recipe: Spinach, mushroom and ricotta stuffed shells
Adapted from Handle the Heat
– 20 large pasta shells
– 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce
– 1/2 tub (225 grams) ricotta
– 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
– 4 oz (about half a package) mushrooms, chopped
– Salt and pepper
– 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large, broilerproof baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, basil, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.

Sprinkle the shells with the mozzarella and bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.

Makes 3-4 servings.


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One thought on “Spinach, mushroom and ricotta stuffed shells

  1. You’re more virtuous than I, the only time I run is if there is a fire or I’m late for a flight! I love this post. It’s cosy winter food. You hit it.

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