Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Shells

My little bundle of bunny love was only gone for about 9 hours.  I kept myself busy so as not to notice her absence too much, but every time I walked into the living room, I still almost starting crooning at an empty pen.  I dropped her off around 8am, and got a call from the vet at 9:25am saying her surgery was successful.  Wow, that was quick.  When I had kidney surgery, it took 6 hours!  I guess spaying is a pretty basic operation.

I lay a sheet down in her pen last night so she’s more comfortable.  She’s just been lounging about looking half asleep, though this morning she’s being a little more lively.  She’s also waddling a little from the incision.  Definitely adding to her adorable factor.  All in all, I’m immensely thrilled that she’s back home safe, and hopefully some of her more annoying behaviors will have been removed along with her uterus.

Ok…food time.  One of my New Years resolutions for 2012 is to cook dinner more often.  What?  Me, the person that practically sleeps in the kitchen doesn’t cook dinner every night?  Hey, only robots cook dinner every night.  There’s always food to eat for dinner, but I don’t cook it from scratch every night.  So I’m going to work on that.

I’m also going to work on getting Luke to eat more veggies.  This dinner was a semi-success.  I was determined to use up the rest of my thawed spinach…and I might have gone overboard.  Fine for me, not so great for Luke.  He still ate it and smiled, and took some for lunch the next day.

This dish was all thumbs up from me.  Ricotta, parmesan, mushrooms, spinach and pasta shells?  Yes, please.  I’m pretty sure I ate this for 3 nights straight, and was perfectly content every time.  If I make it again, and I hope I do, I’ll use less spinach.

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Shells

Adapted from Handle the Heat

Serves 4-6

20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)

1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce (or 3 cups homemade sauce)

1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta

2 cups baby spinach, chopped (I used half a bag of frozen spinach)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

8 oz chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)

Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, basil, mushrooms, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce. Alternatively, transfer mixture into a large ziploc bag, snip one corner, and pipe filling into shells.

Sprinkle the shells with the mozzarella and bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.

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