Stuffed Shells

by Carrie on May 14, 2009

I wanted to make something new and fun for Mothers Day dinner with Adam’s mom and sister. But then Adam volunteered to cook since as he said I am a mom too! So we broswed Food Network together and found this yummy recipe. They were VERY simple to make with everyone helping. Adam cooked the meat and the shells, I made the filling, and his mom and niece filled the shells. We served this with some garlic bread and it was the perfect meal.

The shells are VERY filling, we got 2 big pans and still have some filling and shells in the fridge, if you are only cooking for two cut this recipe way back.

Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach (From: Foodnetwork)

  • 1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shells pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups grated asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the shells:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Stuff the shells with about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture each and place the stuffed shells in a large, buttered baking dish.

For the sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to very low and add the 2 cups asiago cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the shells. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

© 2009, Carrie. All rights reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cassie May 15, 2009 at 8:28 am

Wow, those look DELICIOUS! I love pancetta. I’d like some now, please!


2 wifeplzak May 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

This has been my goto stuffed shells recipe for a couple years now, I just love it!

And just fyi- they freeze well so you can make the entire batch!


3 Kate May 16, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I think it’s adorable that everyone threw in to help make dinner!


4 Cindy May 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm

What could I substitute for the pancetta? DH can’t have pancetta. Would chicken work?????


5 Joelen May 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I haven’t made stuffed shells in awhile – this looks delicious!


6 cindy May 18, 2009 at 11:04 am

Is there another name for pancetta? I see prosciuto also when I do a google search, are they interchangeable??


7 Gretchen May 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm

YUM-O! That looks sooooo good! LOL but I never see panceta at my regular store, what kind of meat should I put in it so I don’t have to go all over too find it?


8 Carolina May 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

This looks so cheesy wonderfully yummy. My kind of recipe.


9 Carrie May 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I think you could easily sub chicken or bacon or just leave it out. For pancetta we find it in front of the deli counter in the pre-packaged meats, it’s not cheap but it was a good meal.


10 Cindy May 25, 2009 at 9:56 pm

I made this and we didn’t like it at all…..too bad, because it looks delicious.


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