DSCN0638Ever have those weeks where cooking dinners after work just seem really hard? That was me last week. I never got into a groove and we ended up eating a lot of random, hodge podge kind of meals.

So, with this week’s meal plan, I’ve resolved to try some new recipes, focusing on make-ahead meals. These stuffed shells were perfect for dinner. I prepped them the night before, and pre-heated the oven when I got home from work. While the oven was coming to temperature, I mixed up the cream sauce and poured it over the shells. It was easy and on the table in just about 30 minutes. (bonus points because most of that was just baking time in the oven) 

Read on for the recipe.

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Pancetta
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. package jumbo shells pasta
  2. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1/2 lb. thick-cut pancetta, cut into medium cubes
  4. 2 lbs. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  5. 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta
  6. 1 cup grated parmesan
  7. 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
For the sauce
  1. 1 tbsp. butter
  2. 1 garlic clove, minced
  3. 1 cup cream
  4. 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  5. 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 by 13 baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Bring pot of water to a boil and add several pinches of salt and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shells and cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Don't cook all the way through.
  3. Cook pancetta in a small frying pan until crisp and set aside on a paper towel.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, parmesan, pepper, nutmeg and pancetta. Mix well and stuff the shells with a few tablespoons of the mixture per shell. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish.
  5. When all the shells are completed, mix the butter and garlic in a small saucepan. Add the cream and bring to a low simmer. Add the cheese and pepper and stir well until thickened. Pour over the shells.
  6. Bake the shells uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
Notes
  1. If you want to make this ahead, go as far as stuffing the shells, cover them with foil and then refrigerate. When you're ready to bake them, let them sit on the counter while the over comes to temperature. Make the sauce and bake as stated above.
Christen in the Kitchen http://christeninthekitchen.com/