Prep 1 hr 15 mins
Cook 35 mins
In 'William-Sonoma: One Pot of the Day'
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole canned tomatoes
- 1 small carrot, halved
- 1⁄2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 large fresh basil leaves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄4 lbs spinach, tough stems removed
- 3 1⁄2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1⁄2 lb jumbo pasta shells
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Sauce--drain the tomatoes, reserving half of their juices.
- In a saucepan, combine the tomatoes, reserved juices, the carrot, and onion.
- Bring to a boil over med-high heat, decrease heat to med-low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the basil, and let cool slightly.
- Pass the mixture through a food mill or a medium-mesh sieve back into the pan.
- Stir in the oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the filling--bring a pot of water to a boil and add the spinach and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Cook just until tender, about 2 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander to drain.
- Reserve the cooking water in the pot.
- Squeeze out excess moisture from the spinach, then finely chop.
- Add the ricotta to a bowl and stir in the egg until smooth.
- Add the spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt and a few grindings of pepper and mix well.
- Add water to the reserved spinach water in the pot to total 5 quarts and bring to a rapid boil.
- Add 2 Tbsp salt and the pasta shells to the boiling water, stir well, and cook, stirring occasionally, until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions.
- Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Smear the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with 2-3 Tbsp sauce.
- Using a teaspoon, stuff the shells with the filling.
- They should be generously filled but not so stuffed that they are wide open.
- Place the stuffed shells, side by side and open side up, in the prepared dish.
- Drizzle with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.