Cure your comfort food cravings with these mouthwatering Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells!
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It’s still sweltering hot in Texas, but fall is officially here. It should be cooling off soon, right?!?
I grew up in the Midwest, where fall meant crisp temperatures, cozy sweaters, and cute boots. Pretty much the opposite of this crazy Dallas heat.
To be honest, it will probably be at least another month until I can wear any of that in Dallas, but a girl can hope. In the meantime, I’m indulging in my other fall fave: comfort food.
These Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells are exactly what I’ve been craving lately!
This decadent vegetarian baked pasta recipe is super creamy, cheesy, and oh so delish.
I mean, don’t you just want to take a bite out of these pictures? Yum!
If you’re craving comfort food as much as I am, this Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells recipe is for you! It serves a crowd and is perfect for cozy fall dinner parties and family meals.
And these Italian stuffed shells reheat well, too. Which means you’ll have a delicious lunch to look forward to the next day … if you have any leftovers, that is!
How to Make Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
So let’s talk about how to make stuffed shells. There are a few steps involved, but it’s actually pretty simple.
You’ll start by cooking the pasta shells. Keep in mind that the pasta will continue cooking while it’s baking, so the shells are ready when they’re just shy of al dente.
I used Barilla jumbo shells, and followed the package directions, boiling them for about 9 minutes. Every brand is a little different though, so consult your box and test the shells, too.
And don’t worry if a few shells fall apart while cooking! You’ll have more than enough pasta even if you lose a few shells along the way … it happens.
While the pasta cooks, you’ll make the creamy spinach artichoke filling. It’s a combination of garlicky sauteed spinach, chopped artichokes, ricotta and Italian cheeses, and an egg, which helps hold everything together.
This tasty filling is easy to make, but you’ll want to get as much excess water out of the spinach and artichokes as possible before combining them with the other ingredients.
I drained both veggies in a fine mesh strainer, and I used the back of a wood spoon to press out even more liquid. Then, I blotted the artichokes with a paper towel, too.
Once your delicious filling is ready, it’s time to stuff the pasta shells.
You’ll add a generous spoonful of the filling to the shells, then bake them in a rich béchamel sauce. The homemade white sauce is simple to make, yet so delicious. It’s the perfect finishing touch to this vegetarian stuffed shells recipe.
The last step is baking the Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells to perfection!
Don’t let the pasta get too browned, or it will get tough. Your baked pasta should be golden just on the edges.
These Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells are a recipe you’ll want to repeat all fall and winter long. Serve them with a salad for a meal your whole family is sure to love!
Cure your comfort food cravings with these creamy, delicious Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells!
- 1 (12-oz) pkg jumbo pasta shells
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (5-oz) pkg baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 (14-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- dash nutmeg
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add shells and cook until almost al dente.
Drain pasta, then place shells on a large baking sheet (so they won't stick together). Set aside.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to oil and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Stir spinach into pan and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer spinach to a fine mesh strainer, then press out excess liquid with the back of a spoon.
Drain artichokes in a strainer, as well, pressing out excess liquid. Place artichokes on a few layers of paper towel, then cover with more paper towels, and press out more liquid.
Mix together ricotta, Parmesan, Italian blend cheese, egg, salt, and pepper. Then, stir in spinach and artichokes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
While pasta and spinach are cooking, heat milk in microwave until warm, about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then stir in garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), stirring constantly.
Sprinkle flour over butter and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until golden.
Whisking constantly, slowly add milk. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon when ready. Remove from heat, then add a dash of nutmeg and season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan (or larger) with nonstick spray, then coat the bottom with about 1/2 of the white sauce.
Fill shells with a generous spoonful of filling and place in baking pan. (Crowd shells together to fit pan, if necessary.)
Pour remaining sauce over filled shells, then sprinkle with Italian blend cheese.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Remove foil and continue baking until stuffed shells lightly golden in spots, about 5 to 10 minutes more.
Serve shells hot, sprinkled with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
A little short on time?
Feel free to replace the homemade béchamel sauce with a jar of your favorite pasta sauce … either marinara or Alfredo will work.
Your Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells will still be delicious, and you’ll have a meal on the table a little faster!
Did you love these Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells?
Then, I have a few other vegetarian comfort food recipes you might like, too!
This Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake is so tasty.
You’ll love this Easy Vegetable Crock Pot Lasagna, too!
It’s simple to make and super delish.
And I can’t forget to mention this Creamy Spinach Artichoke Soup.
It’s so yummy and is one of my most popular recipes!
What is your favorite fall comfort food?