In my ongoing effort to use up all the veggies from our visit to Market on the Move (which, by the way, we’re going to again this Saturday!), I decided I wanted to use up the one lone eggplant I picked up.
Just one small problem… Blake hates eggplants, for pretty much no reason. He says they “look gross.” Awesome… so obviously eggplant parmesan was off the list, as was pretty much anything with the words ‘eggplant’ in the title.
Enter… eggplant mixed IN pre-made sauce! Woohoo! And so my Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Eggplant Sauce was born. The Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells part comes from this recipe, and the Eggplant Sauce (however gross it may seem to you), comes from me.
Without further ado…
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Eggplant Sauce
- 1 eggplant (skinned, ‘salted’ (salt the eggplant, let it sit for an hour to get all the bitter juices out, wash it, pat dry), and roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder (or both)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 cups pasta sauce of your choosing (I used regular Marinara)
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (the recipe calls for fresh, but I used the canned stuff and it seemed fine)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Approximately half a bag of fresh baby spinach (I used what we had left)
- Jumbo pasta shells
- In a large pot, bring salt and water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook until done, set aside.
- In a medium sized non-stick pot, add olive oil, eggplant, onion/garlic powder, and salt and black pepper. Cook until eggplant has started to brown. When finished, set aside.
- While pasta and eggplant are cooking, start making the ricotta mixture. Basically, put all ingredients (except for the pasta shells) in a large bowl, mix well with your hands. It should look something like the picture below, but maybe with more spinach in your case.
- After the eggplant is done, transfer eggplant mixture into a high powered blender (I use a Blendtec, but you could also use a food processor), add pasta sauce, and blend until well mixed.
- On a 9×13 baking dish, lightly greased, layer half of the eggplant sauce on the bottom.
- After pasta shells are cooled, stuff them one at a time with the Spinach and Ricotta mixture. Place each shell onto the baking dish.
- When finished stuffing each shell, cover with the remaining eggplant sauce.
- Cover with foil, cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
And you’re done! Yay! When I surprised Blake with this for dinner, I didn’t mention the eggplant sauce, until he asked what kind of sauce I used… and surprisingly, he said he liked it! He said he couldn’t even tell there was eggplant in it at all. Success! And maybe a good idea for you, if you have some veggies that need to be eaten and a family member that refuses to eat them