Tradition is such an important part of cooking. Even when we change things up a bit, they are pretty much always based off earlier recipes or foods we have eaten in the past. This Broccoli and Spinach Stuffed Jumbo Shells recipe is no exception. It is a lightened up and extra “veggie’d” version of traditional Italian Stuffed Shells, which was one of the dishes my mom used to make that I really liked. When she made a big pan full of stuffed shells with Ragù pasta sauce, our whole family got excited.
To modernize the dish, and fit it into my current dietary goals, I added a good deal of broccoli and spinach to the filling. I also opted for part skim ricotta, and lightened it up a bit further by substituting a third of the ricotta with 2% cottage cheese. The results were quite delicious and nutritious.
Ragù Simmer in Tradition
Assunta Cantisano emmigrated to New York from Naples, Italy in 1914. In 1937, the challenges of the Depression spurred her to start selling sauce off her porch. Her endeavor was wildly successful, and she soon opened the Ragù packing company to handle her orders. By the time I was a child in the 1970’s Ragù was a household name, and the sauce was a staple in our kitchen.
Ready. Set. Cook. Recipe Contest
Submit your original recipe featuring Ragù pasta sauce, and you could win big in the Ready. Set. Cook. contest. The grand prize is $3,000. The runner-up gets $1,250 and people’s choice $750.
Entries must be submitted by November 30th and contain four of the ingredients from a specified list to qualify. If you love watching cooking shows, it is time for you stop just being a bystander, and take on the challenge to enter. I dare you. It will be fun.
Making Jumbo Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Broccoli
Here is a quick visual walk through of the preparation of Broccoli and Spinach Stuffed Jumbo Shells. Full recipe below.
While jumbo pasta shells are boiling & oven is preheating, start making the filling. Pulse the broccoli and spinach in food processor. Toss in an egg.
Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a pool of Ragù Traditional sauce.
Stuff the al dente shells with filling, and nestle in the sauce.
You can top with more sauce, but if the sauce is relatively deep after adding the shells it is optional. I did a dish each way. Bake for 25 min.
Top with shredded cheese and bake for 5-6 minutes more, until melted.
- 1 pound box jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup spinach leaves, frozen
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups part skim ricotta
- 1 cup 2% cottage cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 8 oz shredded Italian blend cheese or mozzarella (1/2 in filling, ½ on top)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- fresh ground pepper
- 45 oz jar of Ragù Traditional sauce
- Boil the jumbo shells to al dente. While boiling prepare the filling.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Pulse broccoli and spinach in food processor until no piece is larger than a pea.
- Place the processed broccoli and spinach in large bowl.
- Add the egg, ricotta, cottage cheese, Parmesan, ½ the shredded cheese and seasonings. Mix well.
- Cover bottom of baking dish/es with sauce about ¾" deep.
- Scoop filling into shells and nestle into the sauce. You may find they don't all fit in one dish.
- Top with a little sauce, unless the pasta is mostly covered, then optional.
- Bake for 24-25 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake 5-6 more minutes.
- All ow to cool a few minutes before serving.