Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shells pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta

1 cup grated asiago cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1 tablespoon butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup cream

2 cups grated asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. For the shells:
  3. 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 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
  4. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Stuff the shells with about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture each and place the stuffed shells in a large, buttered baking dish.
  5. For the sauce:
  6. 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 asiago cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the shells. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
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