Baked Shells With Fresh Spinach and Pancetta

"This is a prepare-ahead one-dish pasta dinner based on a recipe by Nancy Verde Barr in the January 1993 issue of Food & Wine magazine. You may use prosciutto in place of the pancetta."
photo by CaliforniaJan photo by CaliforniaJan
photo by CaliforniaJan
photo by ncmysteryshopper photo by ncmysteryshopper
photo by kiwidutch photo by kiwidutch
photo by kiwidutch photo by kiwidutch
photo by kiwidutch photo by kiwidutch
Ready In:




  • In a heavy medium nonreactive saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the heavy cream and tomato puree and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet, cook the pancetta in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until slightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach in batches and cook, tossing, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the pasta shells in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until barely al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  • Toss the pasta with the creamy tomato sauce and the spinach. Spoon it into a 3-quart shallow buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until piping hot.

Questions & Replies

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  1. bluemoon downunder
    An easy to prepare and really flavoursome pasta dish - basically a seventh heaven dish for spinach lovers! While cooking the pancetta in step two, I (3 cloves), some finely minced added some finely minced garlic onion (one onion), a generous pinch of nutmeg and several grindings of black pepper. I used a low-fat cream which I've always found makes no appreciable difference to the dish, regular parmesan, and rather more than the specified amount of spinach. I used baby spinach leaves, chopped, stems and all. The stems are very soft and I've never understood removing them. mersaydees, this recipe is going to become SO well known at my place, and among my friends and family that by rights we should be declaring a toast in your honour each and every time we eat it! Thanks so much for sharing it! Made for Please Review My Recipe tag game.
  2. Andriy
    a nice pasta dish. i used half and half as well and still found it a little too rich. i would suggest a little more tomate puree and perhaps a little addition of hot pepper flaks to round the recipe out a bit ...
  3. CaliforniaJan
    This is a great recipe. I don't often give 5 stars and this really deserves it. I used half and half instead of heavy cream and I did use pancetta. This goes in my make often file. Thanks mersaydees, I made this for the Every Day is a Holiday Game.
  4. ncmysteryshopper
    Excellent! Very easy to put together with well written instructions. Read them through first because you will probably want to get your oven going and the pasta boiling before you start. I halved the recipe and it was perfect. I used pancetta. Thanks a ton for posting this mersaydees!!!
  5. kiwidutch
    20 stars ! If I were served this in a restauant, I would be asking for the recipe. Instead I have the recipe and a total winner of a recipe at the "restaurant" chez moi ! Dh is a pasta fanatic and rates pastsa dishes severely. He was delighted with this recipe. DO DO DO DO DO use pancetta / prosciutto and DON"T be tempted to substitute bacon becuase I am certain that the end result would be too salty. I was surprised to be pan frying the prosciutto because I associate it with being eaten raw, but what a surprise, it was georgous !!!! Please see my rating system: 5 excellent stars for a recipe that will have you wanting thirds... and is better than many pastas that restaurants serve. I definiate favourite in our household from now on. Thanks!



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