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Stuffed Baked Pasta Shells "Prima Vera"

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Albany/HV: Stuffed Baked Pasta Shells "Prima Vera"
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SERVES:
4-6

INGREDIENTS:

one 12-ounce box jumbo pasta shells (see hints below)
1/3 cup finely diced sweet onion
1 - 2 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup thinly sliced asparagus
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/3 cup defrosted frozen peas

one 15-ounce tub ricotta cheese
8-ounces grated mozzarella cheese
1 large egg
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup marinara sauce plus 1/4 cup water (plus more as needed to serve)

PROCEDURE:

Add one 12-ounce box of jumbo pasta shells to a large pot of boiling water and also preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next, use a large saute pan with a splash of olive oil to saute 1/3 cup finely diced sweet onion for a minute or two.

Then add 1/3 cup finely sliced asparagus and add about 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach and cook that down.

Then add 1/3 cup defrosted frozen peas and turn the heat off.

While that's cooling down a little bit, use a mixing bowl to combine one 15-ounce tub of ricotta cheese with 8-ounces of grated mozzarella cheese, 1 large egg, a crack of black pepper and about 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint, if you're using it, and mix to combine.

Drain the pasta when it's done and then pour it out onto a baking tray and toss it with a little olive oil.

While the pasta is cooling a bit, add the cooked vegetables to the cheese mixture and add 1/4 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese and mix to combine.

Use a spoon to stuff the shells and then add those to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish that has 1 cup of marinara mixed with 1/4 cup water and then tightly seal it with aluminum foil and place it into the preheated oven.

They'll take just about 40 minutes to bake.

Serve over marinara sauce (heating more if you need to) and finish with grated parmesan cheese.

HINTS:

You'll only need about 8-ounces of pasta shells but it's a good idea to cook 12-ounces in case some are broken. Slice, warm and serve leftover cooked pasta shells with marinara sauce or in a simple broth based soup.

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