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Spinach And Pancetta Stuffed Shells

This is one of those special-occasion baked pastas that always ends up being a hit. Comforting and hearty with plenty of great flavor, and the spinach gives it amazing color as well as nice balance to the decadence.

I recommend making this for a holiday or a gathering - everyone will want seconds!
Spinach And Pancetta Stuffed Shells
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Spinach And Pancetta Stuffed Shells

Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users

Prep Time

25 minutes

Cook Time

25 minutes

Author:

Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Spinach And Pancetta Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

    For The Shells:

  • 1 pound Lumaconi pasta, or 12 ounces jumbo shells
  • 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
  • For The Sauce:

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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