This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze. It’s one of those that can be frozen into small portions and reheated for lunches or that rare dinner for two. I love making up some big batches of this in the fall after harvesting all of the squash.
Recipe: Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Shells
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 (10 ounce) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 zucchini, julienned (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 yellow squash, julieened (1 ½ cups)
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 (8 oz) container ricotta cheese
- 1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound jumbo pasta shells, cooked
- 1 (25.5 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- If baking and serving immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. Or spray smaller baking dishes if you want to freeze directly in the baking containers in smaller portions.
- Cook pasta shells according to package directions.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes or until just starting to brown. Add squash, zucchini, spinach, carrots and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool.
- In a large mixing bowl mix together ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Fold cooled vegetables into cheese mixture. Fill shells with mixture. Each shell should hold about 1 tablespoon of the mixture. If freezing, move to step 6.
- Cooking now: Place shells in the baking dish. Cover shells with the spaghetti sauce and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- To Freeze: Depending on needs and storage space there are a couple of freezing methods. First will be to set the shells in baking containers, cover with sauce and sprinkle Parmesan over top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and freeze. Or set all the shells on cookie sheets and set in freezer until fully frozen. Put them in freezer bags in whatever portions you would like. Add spaghetti sauce to freezer bag depending on the portion, but try to keep it pretty even. You’ll want enough sauce added so it will cover the shells nicely. With this method I take small snack size storage bags or really small freezer storage containers and also freeze Parmesan in appropriate portions.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Sauce should be nice and bubbly and cheese melted. Sprinkle with basil before serving.
Diet type: Vegetarian
Meal type: dinner
Culinary tradition: Italian
Microformatting by hRecipe.
photo courtesy of topquark22
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