- Preparation Time:
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 20 mins
Are you stumped on what you want to do for that special someone for Valentine’s Day? Well, I’ve got to be honest, you’re a little late. But have no fear, Chef Rob always comes to the rescue. If I can give anyone advice for Valentine’s Day ‘festivities’, I give them one word: cook. Take it from me, cooking a meal for/with someone is one of the most satisfying and ‘appreciated’ things you can do on the day of romance. So why not make something simple, but special and delicious. Pasta is a staple, but this is not your everyday spaghetti and meatballs. Filled with some creamy ricotta plus spinach and bacon, these shells will have him/her asking for more… and I don’t necessarily mean more pasta…
3 strips Maple Leaf Bacon
2 cloves Garlic
1 package Baby Spinach
½ lb Jumbo pasta Shells (about 24 Shells)
300g Ricotta Cheese
1/3 cup Grated Parmigianino Reggiano
1/3 cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups Tomato Sauce
Salt and Pepper
1. Get a nice big pot of salted water on the boil and preheat your oven to 375F. Good so far?
2. As soon as the water is ready, boil your pasta until ALMOST al dente. Slightly undercook the pasta because we’re going to bake it in the oven later. Also, when the pasta is ready, drain it then toss it in some olive oil to prevent sticking and then let it cool. DO NOT rinse your pasta under cold water. BAD. Just let it cool naturally.
3. Grab your strips of bacon and cut them up as small as you can. Nice and tiny. We need to stuff them into our shells later, so big pieces will just get in the way.
4. Fry up your bacon, let your significant other bask in the glory of the aroma.
5. Once it is almost crispy, throw in your minced garlic and let that fry for a minute or two, until its fragrant THEN dump in all of your baby spinach.
6. Toss this around until all the spinach has wilted then set it aside for later.
7. In a nice big bowl, mix together your egg, ricotta cheese, parmigiano cheese and mozzarella cheese. Yes, cheesy, I know.
8. Dump in your spinach and bacon mixture and mix it all around. You may choose to further chop up your spinach before mixing everything together, but I felt that was unnecessary. Didn’t really want to oil up another cutting board, to be honest.
9. Now that your filling is prepped, grab a medium sized casserole dish and spread some beautiful tomato sauce along the bottom. I have a couple different tomato sauce recipes on the website you can check out, if you don’t have a recipe of your own. For example, the sauce I used for my Eggplant Parmigiana, or the spicy sauce I used for my Penne All’Arrabiata if you want to kick it up a notch.
10. Stuff each of your shells with a spoonful of our ricotta mixture and place them in the sauce-lined casserole.
11. Place some more dollops of sauce over the top (as much as you like, really), then whack the whole thing in the oven for 20 minutes to let everything heat through and become bubbly hot.
12. You now have 20 minutes to do whatever your Valentine’s Day heart desires…
13. And NOW you have a beautiful meal that you and your significant other can gaze lovingly across the table over.