Once upon a time, I had planned Spinach Stuffed Shells for dinner. But, I apparently didn’t have any spinach and I was NOT going back to the store. So I improvised and these Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells were born!
Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 12 oz pasta shells (approximately 40 shells – cooked according to package directions)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 16 oz broccoli (I used frozen, which I defrosted & chopped in processor, chopped)
- 32 oz ricotta cheese
- 24 oz cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 – 4 1/2 cups pasta sauce (use your favorite)
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (or a few pinches of dried parsley)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 13×9″ casserole pans (I give them a spray with cooking spray). In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and broccoli. Cook until onions and carrots are crisp-tender and there is very little to none liquid in the pan. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
- While vegetable mixture is cooling, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, and eggs in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper to cheese mixture. Add cooled vegetable mixture to the cheese mixture.
- Add approximately 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta sauce to the bottom of each pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pans (it doesn’t need to be deep). With a tablespoon, start filling the cooked pasta shells with the mixture. I tend to stuff them fairly full as you can see in my photos. As you fill the shells, place them in the pans on top of the sauce, until you’ve used all your shells or used up all your veggie/cheese mixture.
- Spoon pasta sauce over the top of each filled shell. Then, top each shell with shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle each one with a bit of parsley (I like it mostly for color, to make it look pretty). Bake in 350 degree F oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until heated through and the top is hot, bubbly, and nicely browned.
–This makes a large batch – two 13×9″ casserole pans. It feeds my family of 6 (including 4 that are adults) very well, with leftovers. If you have a large pan, you might not need two casserole pans, but I tend to stuff my shells very full, so I have about 20 per pan (5 rows of 4 shells) – your mileage may vary.