I have a confession. I’m obsessed with spinach and artichoke dip. From the briny, meaty chunks of artichoke, to the molten crown of cheese on top, I literally can’t get enough. I remember begging my parents every time we went to a certain Great American Restaurant (not naming names) to order this comfort food appetizer. It would come out bubbling hot in a clay pot surrounded by enough chips to feed an army, or as I’m slightly embarrassed/proud to say, just me.
I decided to combine my love for this savory dip with my second love, stuffed shells. These babies are filled with the creamiest ricotta-spinach-artichoke filling, topped with spicy Arrabiata sauce, and blanketed with a thick layer of mozzarella.
As the mercury drops, there’s nothing better than having such a comforting dinner like this just waiting in the oven for you to devour it. Best of all, it freezes so well, so make a huge batch and you’ve got dinner covered for a few days. Don’t let me convince you, this picture does it justice:
Can we just take a moment to look at these gorgeous shells sizzling in spicy tomato sauce and stuffed with the most velvety cheese filling??? Ok enough looking let’s begin:
Sauté an onion and a few cloves of garlic in some olive oil until softened and aromatic.
Thaw your spinach and squeeze all the water out, and then drain and chop your artichokes.
In a large bowl combine the sautéed onion and garlic, spinach, parmesan, mozzarella, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir stir until well combined and taste for seasoning.
I always taste the filling for seasoning before I add in the eggs, that way there’s no worry about bacteria. So once the salt, chili, and pepper amounts taste right mix in a few beaten eggs.
Finally, fold in the artichokes last, that way they still stay in tact and don’t become mush from over-eager stirring (guilty).
Pop your shells in boiling water until very al dente, like 6 minutes.
Line a baking pan with foil, and spread a layer of sauce on the bottom. I cheated and bought mine from the store, but Giada has a delish recipe here. If you buy yours, repeat after me, “I will not use Prego”. Good, glad we got that over with!
Take a spoon and fill your shells generously with a scoop of filling and lay them in the bed of sauce.
Smother them in thick layer of sauce, and then another layer of mozzarella.
Bake until cheese is melted, sauce is bubbling, and your kitchen smells too good to resist. By the way, the recipe makes two of these pans! I know, best news I’ve heard all day too.
I served mine with a simple green salad, but a few pieces of garlic bread certainly wouldn’t hurt!
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells (serves 6-8) recipe adapted from here
- 1 12 ounce box shells (I used Barilla)
- 1 jar tomato sauce of your choice
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 cups ricotta
- 1 cup chopped spinach (measure after thawing frozen spinach and squeezing water out)
- 1 cup parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1 and 1/2 cup mozzarella
- 1 can artichokes
- 1 t each: red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté olive oil, garlic, and onion together until soft.
- In a large bowl combine ricotta, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella, parmesan, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Mix well and taste to make sure seasoning is right.
- Mix in eggs and then fold in artichokes.
- Drop pasta shells into a pot of boiling water, and let cook for about 6 minutes. They should be very al dente, but flexible enough for you to fill them. Drain.
- Line a baking pan with foil ( I needed two) and spread 1 cup of sauce into the pan.
- Using a spoon, fill each shell with about 2 T of filling, and place in the prepared baking pans.
- Drizzle remaining sauce over shells and layer thickly with mozzarella.
- Pop in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until everything is bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown.