Stuffed Shells with Pancetta and Spinach Goodness

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So I was sitting at home watching Everyday Italian, and Giada made this dish.  I couldn't help but give it a try.  If you are craving a rich Italian dish, you should too. :]  I tweaked it just a little bit, and I was happy with the results.


For the Shells:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shells pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 16 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) container low fat ricotta
  • 1 cup Italian mix cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of basil and garlic chopped tomatoes

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups Italian mix cheese, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the shells:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta.

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. 

While that is cooking, empty can of tomatoes into a food processor and pulse until it become a slightly chunky sauce.  Then pour into a large baking dish and set aside. 

Remove the pancetta from the pan when it's golden brown with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. 

Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, Italian cheese, and pepper. Stir to combine. 

Stuff the shells with about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture in each and place the stuffed shells in the baking dish on top of the tomato sauce.

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to very low and add the 2 cups Italian cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the shells. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Italian cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. 

The end result? Mouth-watering goodness. YUM!

Turned out great.  The tomato sauce I added to the recipe balanced out the richness of the cheese.  If I make it again, I may add some sausage or shredded chicken. My hubby is a meat lover, for sure. 

<3 Saleena 


  1. Saleena, I love your blog!

    I am so happy for you and your husband. You two are a match made in heaven! And I really want to make that recipe now. Giada makes such amazing food. Looking forward to reading more posts! :)

  2. Lauren,

    Thank you so much! I am having so much fun being a wife, I know you will too :] And thank you for becoming a follower...I was beginning to think no one was reading!

  3. Hi there. Just read your comment! :)

    Sorry I'm a little late. That's awesome. I can hardly wait! Well, I only have 13 followers--but I will feature you in my next post! Your blog is too good to not be read by more people. Take care, dear! xoxo.

  4. Awesome! Thanks for the feature :]


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