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Friday, February 4, 2011

Northern Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells

Stuffed Shells

Difficulty: EASY
Servings: 12
Nutrition Information
Calories: 590
Protein 52g; Carbohydrates 50g; Fiber 5g
Fat: Sat 10g; Polyunsaturated 0.2g; Monosaturated 2g

About This Recipe

Loaded with flavor, age-defying lycopene, and antioxidant-rich herbs, this dish is a favorite of young and old alike.  Note from the nutritional information that these shells are almost a perfect 40/40/20 split between Protein, Carbs and Fat. The recipe makes two (9x13) baking pans, each with 6 generous servings. Filled unbaked shells can be frozen for up to a month. I always make two pans and freeze one for a later date if not entertaining a crowd.


  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 (10 oz.) Packages Frozen Chopped Spinach (thawed, and squeezed dry)
  • 3 Pounds Ground Round (the leanest you can find)
  • 1 (8 oz.) Package LIGHT Cream Cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 1 (24 oz.) Carton Lowfat Cottage Cheese
  • 2 Large Onions Diced
  • 4 Large Garlic Cloves (finely minced or pressed)
  • 3 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 2 (5 oz.) Packages Shredded Parmesan Cheese (or 10 oz. of Grated Parmesan Cheese)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1-1/2 (12 oz.) Packages Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 6 Cups of Your Favorite Bottled Meatless Tomato Pasta Sauce (I like Classico, Tomato Basil--see Amazon link below)


  1. In a dutch oven set over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in the EVOO until translucent. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, brown the ground round, breaking it up with a fork. Drain off any fat. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. To the beef, add the spices, salt and pepper to taste, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Next add the onions and garlic, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and 5 ounces (half) of the Parmesan cheese. Stir over medium-low heat until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is nice and creamy.
  5. Add the thawed and drained spinach and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  6. Cool slightly, add the eggs, and mix well.
  7. Cook pasta shells according to package directions until al dente. Drain and cool slightly.
  8. Thoroughly spray TWO 9x13 baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Evenly coat the bottom of each baking dish with 1.5 Cups (3 cups total) of the Pasta Sauce.
  11. Stuff shells with the filling mixture and place half the shells into each pan, open side up.
  12. Drizzle remaining pasta sauce over the shells and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over both pans of shells.
  13. Bake shells (covered with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray) for 1 hour.
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1 comment:

  1. These look great Anabolic Gourmet! And definitely enough for a crowd. I just posted a Marinara and Meatball recipe on FoodieMamaBlog that could also be good for the game day. It's healthy enough to be linked here.