Tuesday, March 8, 2011

M: Baked Shells Casserole

Ok, I am officially 9 recipes into my self-imposed challenge to do Rachael Ray’s top 10 recipes of 2010!

Number 8 was the slow cooker honey lemon chicken, which was the 2nd recipe that I’ve tried that I just really didn’t like. There was not much taste to it. Looked beautiful in the crock pot but…yea…kinda lacking in the taste department. Here’s a gander:


But, number 9 was the baked shells casserole. And oh yes, this one was fantastic! A little more involved than her other recipes, but totally worth it! A layered casserole dish with a homemade marinara sauce and a noodle mixture with ricotta cheese, spinach, onions, and garlic…yep, definitely my kinda dinner!


Baked Shells Casserole

from Rachael Ray

  • 5 TB olive oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano or marjoram
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to your own spicy-ness meter!
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 TB chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb medium or large shell pasta
  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

In a large pot, heat 3 TB olive oil over medium heat. Add about 4 cloves of the chopped garlic, 3/4 cup of the chopped onion, and the carrot. Season with salt, pepper, oregano or marjoram, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and thyme. Saute about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add parsley, stir, then add wine. Reduce for about a minute or two.


Add in chicken stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.


After sauce has been simmering 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. Salt water and boil pasta for 5 minutes.

While pasta is boiling, heat remaining 2 TB olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Add spinach, separating it as you’re adding it to the pan. Stir well. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Turn off heat.


Drain undercooked pasta, return to hot pan. Add spinach mixture to pasta and stir. Add ricotta and parmesan and stir well. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Add eggs and stir well.


Pour a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish (I used an 11 x 7 inch Corningware dish). Spoon the noodle mixture on top of the sauce. Spoon another layer of marinara sauce on top of the noodles.


Reserve the remaining sauce to pass around the table on top of each serving. Bake dish for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Garnish each serving with additional sauce and additional parmesan cheese (or mozzarella as I did!)




Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean said...

love stuffed shells! these look delish.

Pound said...

yum! what's not to love about this one?!

Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete said...

Everything looks so fresh and delicious!

Renee Paj said...

yum...I love a good stuffed shell...but I am lazy and always just doctor up frozen ones...lol

Lisa said...

Oh man, that looks amazing! I love baked shells...and the combo of stuff in it!!!! Yum---I could totally eat that for breakfast right now :)

Anonymous said...

Man! That pasta has it all! Looks awesome.

jenna said...

yum!! stuffed shells are one of my absolute favorite meals!! these look great!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

Look heavenly! So yummy! Who doesn't love pasta?

Came by to ask you to join my recipe challenge this month. The post will be next wednesday and I would love for you to join me. Just send me a pic when you can of anything new you have cooked so far this month and I will post everyone’s pics and link it back to their blogs! Oh PLEASE join! Your a fabulous cook! Oh and I won’t take no for an answer! LOL!

Emily Malloy said...

May I have some?? Please??!?!

Erica said...

Yum! You just can't go wrong with a pasta bake. Looks awesome Mandi

Katie said...

You've already almost reached your goals! I love baked pasta but don't make it nearly enough.

Anonymous said...

I love stuffed shells. I'm adding this to my list of recipes to try!

thehealthyapron said...

Oh this looks great!

erica said...

I loved stuffed shells so I will definitely be giving this a try!


fittingbackin said...

This looks wonderful! I love self-imposed challenges like this - so fun to stay on track and find new concoctions you love!

biz said...

The bakes shells look ah.mazing! Definitely worth the effort!

Anonymous said...

I always order stuffed shells at restaurants but have been a little nervous to try it myself! I have to say I love the veggies in here!

Annie said...

those look soo delish!

Salah S said...

those shells look so amazing! EVerything in it looks awesome!!

Laural (bhealthier) said...

wow, it looks like a lot of ingredients but it isn't really! so yum.

Simply Life said...

oh gosh, all these layers look incredible together!

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

Beautiful stuffed shells! That's too bad about the crockpot recipe, too bad they can't all be winners.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

This looks great! I'm a huge fan of casseroles...yum!

carla said...

**proffers plate**