Stuffed Shells Florentine
I’ve been told that I make some pretty darned good stuffed shells Florentine. The reason people seem to like them so much is their exceptionally creamy texture (versus the sometimes “gritty” texture I’ve tasted in certain shells).
My “how to” video is below, and here is the basics of the recipe! I hope you’ll try them and let me know how they come out for you!
Stuffed Shells Florentine
- 1 package (12 ounces these days) of large, jumbo shells (If you are making a full batch, which this recipe calls for) – Actually, you can just cook up about 35 shells which is exactly what we were able to fill with the following recipe. We cooked Ronzoni brand for 10 minutes, then drained them so they were ready to stuff.
- 2 jars of Marinara or any sauce of your liking. Of course, a wonderful home-made sauce would be an extra treat! Yum!
- 32 oz Ricotta (I use whole milk)
- 1 pound block of Mozzarella Cheese (I use whole milk) – sliced, for topping the shells after they are done cooking
- 8 oz package of shredded Mozzarella (If I weren’t so lazy I’d grate some whole milk, but for the sake of time, I just use the bagged, part-skim shredded. This goes in the mix.
- 8 oz block of Cream Cheese (in this case, I do go with the lighter cream cheese, called Neufchatel) – use anywhere from ½ a block to a whole block. It’s up to you. When I’m making a very large batch of shells, I use the whole block.
- 2 eggs – just lightly beaten. You’re gonna mix the bejabbers out of all this anyway.
- ¼ cup of VERY finely chopped onion (you don’t want to overpower the flavors)
- Just a touch of: grated nutmeg, touch of garlic powder, a few twists of the pepper grinder, and a touch of salt
- NOW… If you are going to stop here, and NOT use Spinach, just whip it, and bake!
- MIX –Whip it! Whip it good! Mix all the above together with a beater – this will help make the mixture smooth, which is one of the keys to making the shells creamy! Note that the shredded mozzarella will still be lumpy, but it will melt once it’s baking.
- At this point, you can stuff the shells, OR, if you want to follow through with the Florentine recipe:
- 1 package (either 10-oz or 12-oz) of frozen CHOPPED spinach – thaw the package, and SQUEEZE as much of the liquid out as possible. It WILL spread out through the mix. But you do need to be sure you squeeze that liquid out. Also – I prefer chopped to leaf or cut spinach. The chopped will spread through the mix a little bit better.
- ADD the spinach to the mix, and use the beater to really combine it all.
- STUFF the shells, and put in a baking dish.
- COVER with sauce, and put foil over the top. Bake until the mix is at about 160 degrees F – it takes about 45 minutes or so at about 350 degrees F.
- Then, remove from the oven, and top with slices of Mozzarella cheese. Put back into the oven until the cheese melts. We usually turn the oven off and watch it for about 10 minutes, then remove and serve!
- HINT: If you don’t want to cook them all right away, bake what you need for the immediate meal, and then FREEZE the rest – just lay them out individually on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Once they are individually frozen, you can put them into a zip-lock bag and then just take out and bake when you want them. If you are cooking them from a frozen state, put a layer of sauce in the baking dish, put the shells in, top with sauce, cover with foil, and bake at about 350 degrees F for about an hour – check after 45-50 minutes. After they cook to about 160 degrees F, remove the foil, cover with the sliced Mozzarella cheese, and put back in to melt (we turn the oven off and let it go for about 10 minutes).
- Serve and Enjoy!