Florentine Pasta Shells

  • 12 oz jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 large jar pasta sauce (your choice) or 3 cups homemade bolognese
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 4 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (divided)
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz package of fresh spinach, chopped very fine*
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning blend

In large mixing bowl, combine ricotta and cream cheeses, 1 cup shredded cheese, egg, spinach,* garlic, and seasoning until well-blended. Pour about half of the pasta sauce into one large or two small baking pans or dishes that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray; make sure the sauce coats the bottom of the pan(s) well.
Using a metal spoon (such as a soup spoon), fill shells with cheese/spinach mixture and place in pan(s) with the open side facing up. They can be packed in tightly, but do not overlap. Top with water, remaining sauce, and other cup shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until desired brownness. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.
(Can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated; thaw before baking. May need to add extra cooking time if baking straight from refrigerator.)


*(Can also be made without spinach)


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