LUCY BURDETTE: My husband comes from a biiiggg family. So a casual get-together can grow from four people to fifteen in the blink of an eye. That happened a couple of weeks ago when we went to Maine to celebrate my mother-in-law's 102nd birthday. (I know isn't she amazing?)
I'm aware, as I write the Key West mysteries, that Hayley makes cooking for a group--on the spur of the moment--look so easy! And to be truthful, I'm not quite the kitchen whiz that she is.
But this is really a recipe you can whip up in a couple of hours and pop into the oven at the last minute. So if you're responsible for dinner, and Hayley doesn't step in, you will need a recipe like this which is tasty, but expands to fill a crowd. Here it is, my recipe for a massive tray of stuffed shells:
2 12 ounce packages large shells
Two 32 oz jars marinara sauce (your choice)
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
32 ounces ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded Parmesan/Romano/asiago cheese
Cook the shells as directed on the package. Drain and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool.
Squeeze the thawed spinach dry. Mix the cheeses and the spinach well in a large bowl.
Oil a large pan--I used my turkey pan. Dump the sauce in the pan. Stuff each shell with a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture, and dredge them in the marinara sauce. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top.
Bake at 350 until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve with good bread, a big green salad, and maybe some corn on the cob.
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