The time has come! After months of anticipation the vacation of my dreams is here! You are probably thinking ocean, beach, and palm trees, but no... my dream vacation, ever since I came to the US, was a road trip through the Colorado Plateau admiring all the amazing views, canyons, parks, and deserts! So forgive me that there will be no posts for the next week, but I promise I will make it up to you. I will leave you with a decadent, delicious, and festive dish perfect for any summer celebration. Pasta shells stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese covered with bechamel sauce and mozzarella! Decadent enough? I used fat-free ingredients so it's not as "guilty" as it sounds, but it's definitely very rich and flavorful. Here is the recipe.
* box of large shells pasta
* 16 oz reduced-fat ricotta cheese
* small bag frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
* 1 egg
* 1/2 stick butter
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 cups fat-free milk
* pinch of nutmeg
* 2 cups reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
* salt and pepper
1. Cook the shell pasta in salted water for about 5 minutes (don't overcook it), drain, wash in a cold water and set aside.
2. In a meantime prepare bechamel sauce: melt butter, add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk everything together until it forms a smooth and thick sauce. If it's too thick just add some more milk.
3. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, drained spinach, egg, dill, salt, and pepper, and mix everything together.
4. Spread 1/3 of a bechamel sauce on a bottom of a baking dish. Stuff each shell with a generous spoon of ricotta stuffing and layer them tightly into a baking dish. Cover everything with remaining bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover with a foil and bake at 380F for 45 minutes, then take the foil out and bake for 15 more minutes to brown the top.
You know it's gonna be good, I don't even have to tell you. Creamy filling with crunchy and browned cheese on the top, it even sounds delicious. And it's so healthy too... come on, it has spinach inside... it has to be healthy, right?