Unstuffed Shells Casserole is an easy and quick dinner recipe. It's just like any other Pasta dish just baked in the form of a Casserole and that's what makes this so effortless and delicious!!!
I love stuffed Shells. Jumbo shells stuffed with Spinach Ricotta Filling is one of my favorite dinner recipes. And not only me, but my kids also love it too. Well, better than Stuffed Shells is Unstuffed shells. Yup. It's basically all of the same flavors just minus the hard work.
This Unstuffed Shells Casserole is an excellent recipe to feed a family of four. I make it when I am too tired to cook dinner. It's just a basic dump and forgets dinner and within minutes, it gets ready in the oven. The cheese gets bubbly, my kitchen starts to smell delicious and it's all a happy mess on the dinner table 🙂
So, I happen to use most of my Pantry staples and also the fresh produce. Since it's almost Spring here and the fresh Spinach in my Garden is calling for attention every day, I thought of using them as well in this Unstuffed Shells Casserole Recipe.
I like to grow a few Micro Greens and a few Leafy Veggies in my Garden. I am still waiting for my Kale and Basil to grow in full bloom. They are just about 8 weeks old now and pretty soon, they will be in full bloom as the days start to get warmer. So, be prepared for more Kale and Basil recipes guys 🙂
How to make Unstuffed Shells Casserole with Spinach
Coming back to this recipe, it's seriously the easiest. It involves some preparation and if that done, it takes just 5 minutes to assemble everything and put this to get baked for 40 minutes.
So, this Unstuffed Shells Casserole involves three major steps:
Cooking the Jumbo Shells
The First step obviously is to cook the Shells Pasta with some salted water and oil until it gets al dente. Drain the water and keep the pasta aside.
Making the Spinach Filling
The Second step is to make the spinach filling. For that, heat some olive oil in a pan. As the oil shimmers, add the chopped shallots, minced garlic, and chopped Spinach. Cook all three until the spinach wilts and reduces. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
Making the Ricotta-Parmesan Mixture
The Third Step is to make a Ricotta Mixture. For that, mix Ricotta Cheese with Parmesan Cheese and egg. Keep this ricotta mixture aside.
And now, all the components of this recipe are ready. So all you got to do is layer.
And start with the layering
Start with a layer of Marinara Sauce, followed by the spinach mixture, followed by the shells, and a layer of the Ricotta mixture over them.
Next, repeat with more Marinara Sauce, Spinach Mixture, and Ricotta Mixture. The last layer should be a final layer of Marinara Sauce.
Top it all of with some shredded Mozzarella Cheese and pop this in the oven to get baked at 350F for 40 minutes.
After the Casserole gets baked, garnish with some chopped Cilantro, cut, and serve!
This Unstuffed Shells Casserole recipe can obviously be made with Ground Beef. You can make a Meat sauce along with Marinara, Onions, and Garlic and layer it instead of the Spinach Layer.
However, since I am making a vegetarian version, I have skipped the Meat. and used Spinach instead.
Lets' talk Taste
I know, before you even give this a try, you would love to know how it tastes? Well, this is so so so delicious. It's almost like a Shells Pasta Lasagna! It's creamy, comforting, spicy and so De-Licious! Totally worth the time and effort and so good. A healthy family-friendly meal with pantry staples.
here's the video on Unstuffed Shells Casserole
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Unstuffed Shells Casserole
To cook the Pasta
- 4 cups Shells Pasta uncooked
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 4 cups Boiling Water
To make the Spinach Mixture
- 1 cup Spinach chopped
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 medium size Shallot finely chopped
- 5 cloves Garlic minced
To make the Ricotta Parmesan Mixture
- 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 whole Eggs
For the Casserole
- 3 cups Marinara Sauce 24oz
- 1½ cup Mozzarella Cheese
- Chopped Cilantro for Garnish
- Bring a pot of water to boil, with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the Shells Pasta to it and cook until al dente. After the Pasta gets cooked, drain the water and keep the Pasta aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. As the oil shimmers, add the chopped shallots, minced garlic, and chopped Spinach. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat until the spinach wilts and reduces.
- In a bowl, combine Ricotta Cheese with Parmesan Cheese and Egg. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F or 180C and grease a 9x13 inches baking dish with oil or cooking spray
- Start with a layer of Marinara Sauce followed by the Spinach Mixture and then the shells and then Ricotta Mixture. Repeat with more Marinara Sauce, followed by the Spinach Mixture, Ricotta Mixture, and a final layer of Marinara Sauce. Finish with some shredded Mozzarella Cheese on top and bake for 40 minutes.
- Garnish with some chopped Cilantro, cut, and serve!