Assemble the shells in advance, then simply heat and eat for a healthy dinner the whole family will enjoy!
If working with dried pasta, cook shells as directed, wash and drain. Prepare spinach (wash, dry and chop fine if fresh; thaw if frozen) and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add cottage cheese, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, fresh basil, parsley, fennel seeds and minced garlic. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend to desired consistency. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if needed. Note: Go easy on the sea salt, as cottage cheese is a bit saltier than the classic version of stuffed shells that call for ricotta cheese.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce to coat the bottom of the dish and to prevent sticking. You may also add a dash of extra virgin olive oil if desired.
Using a serving spoon and clean hands, fill each pasta shell with the spinach mixture. Carefully transfer stuffed shells, filling side up, to the prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining shredded parmesan cheese.
Cover the baking dish loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Allow the shells to settle for 10 minutes prior to serving (or else they may be juicy).
Serve with a green salad, garlic parmesan green beans, and (if desired) Organic Valley Italian Pork or Chicken Sausages.
The beauty of this simple supper is that you can assemble it up to 2 days prior to baking, if covered well with plastic and refrigerated. Children love to help with this recipe and those small hands love to mash cottage cheese and stuff the shells! A fun way to get kids in the kitchen and eating greens!