Bright, fresh, and summery asparagus, pesto and cheese stuffed pasta shells in a marinara sauce all covered in melted cheese!
There are so many ways to enjoy some spring asparagus and these asparagus pesto and ricotta stuffed shells are what I am currently crushing on! Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with huge chunks of asparagus along with a tasty asparagus pesto giving you a maximum asparagus experience! The base of the filling is ricotta cheese along with lemon, basil, parmesan and pepper; it’s so good that I can hardly resist devouring it by the spoonful as I stuff the shells. (One spoonful for the shells, one spoonful for me… ???? no one saw that!) The shells are placed in a fresh homemade marinara sauce, covered in mozzarella and baked until the cheese is all melted, ooey, gooey and stingy! Yum! This asparagus pesto and ricotta stuffed shell recipe is my new favourite spring meal!
The asparagus, pesto and ricotta stuffing!
Asparagus Pesto and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Bright, fresh, and summery asparagus pesto and cheese stuffed pasta shells in a marinara sauce all covered in melted cheese!
- 8 ounces large shell pasta
- 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 1 (12 ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup asparagus pesto (or basil pesto)
- 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups quick marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
- 2 tablespoons basil, sliced
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package until just tender (a little under cooked), before draining and tossing with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus by placing it in boiling water (or in a steaming steamer) and cooking until it just turns a dark green before transferring it to cold water to cool and stop the cooking process. (The asparagus will be just tender and still a little crispy.)
- Mix the ricotta, asparagus, pesto, parmesan, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the marinara sauce over the bottom of a large baking pan, stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture, and place them in the marinara sauce in the pan with the open side up.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top and bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until the cheese has melted and the sides are bubbling, about 10-15 minutes, before removing from the oven and serving garnished with the basil.
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Judy McCarthy says
The filling for the shells is so good that I now use it as the ricotta layer in my lasagna. People ask for this recipe whether made as stuffed shells or lasagna. This recipe is a people pleaser.