Friday, January 25, 2008

Food for new parents (and not so new parents, smug marrieds, singletons, etc.)

In two days, two sets of friends had babies! The best thing you can do for a new family is feed them. They don't need you to help hold the baby--but they just might let you if you bring them a meal! Here's one of my favorite meals to make new parents. It's also one of my absolute favorite Italian dishes and yes, it has greens!

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells
1 box of jumbo pasta shells
1 container of ricotta cheese (mine was a little over two pounds and I had some extra)
1 box of frozen, chopped spinach--thaw and squeeze out excess water
2 eggs
1 cup shredded mozzarella (I tend to buy the shredded Italian blend cheese)
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan--I usually just do a small handful
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Tomato sauce-your choice of jarred or homemade. If using jarred, you'll probably need two jars.

Cook pasta shells until al dente. I typically cook them a few minutes less than the directions call for since they will be baked. Drain and rinse under cold water so that you can handle them easily. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, parmesan, mozzarella, garlic powder and spinach. Mix well.

In a baking dish (I used a 9x13 dish), ladle some tomato sauce so that the shells can nestle into the sauce. Spoon cheese and spinach mixture into each shell and place in baking dish side by side. Spoon additional sauce over top of the shells (I usually don't cover them entirely, but do put some on top of each row of shells). Sprinkle the top with additional parmesan or mozzarella if you choose. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Let sit out of the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.

If you are making this dish for new parents, prepare up until the shells should be baked. Assemble the dish in a disposable foil pan so they don't have to scrub out any baking dish and remember to return it to you. They kind of have their hands full with that new bundle of love.


Amy said...

Sounds and looks yummy! I might have to try that next week. :-)

Beth Sprague said...

Looks so good! If only I liked ricotta cheese (which I don't at all). Can you make a meat version?! lol

SpiceRack said...

Spice Rack
This is really a tempting dish. I wish could make it the perfect way, with the presence of spices in my spice rack! Nice one.