Shells and Spinach

shells and spinach foodgawker

Spinach has to be my favorite green, and I enjoy it cooked, pureed, raw, and even in smoothies.  It is incredibly healthy, versatile, and delicious.  It also happens to pair exceptionally well with one of my favorite cheeses, feta.  Whenever possible I combine these two ingredients.  Years ago, I came across shells and spinach in a local deli, but it was served cold and was crying out for feta cheese.  I felt compelled to recreate the dish at home, and I am glad I did.  My shells and spinach is served warm with feta cheese and olive oil, and the spinach is completely pureed, which eliminates any sliminess that could occur.  It is really a tasty combination.  I have been making it steadily since then.  In fact, it is one of my favorite go-to dishes for my little ones.  Such a great way to get more greens in my family’s diet.  It also freezes well and is a great way to have a healthy meal ready when you are in a rush.  I almost always have this in my freezer.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

 

Shells and Spinach

Ingredients

  • 8 to 9 oz. fresh spinach
  • 1 lb. package shells pasta (the bite-sized ones)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ lb. feta cheese (add more for a cheesier dish)
  • Start the spinach and pasta water at the same time.
  • Steam the spinach (or your preferred cooking method) until fork tender over medium heat. It usually takes about 30 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta separately according to package directions. When the pasta is done, strain and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • When the spinach is ready, strain it and ensure most of the water is squeezed out. Puree it with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • Once the spinach is pureed and the shells have been tossed with olive oil, mix the spinach puree with the pasta. Continue mixing until the spinach covers all the shells.
  • At this point, you can proceed 2 different ways.
  • Option 1: If you are serving the entire amount, crumble the feta cheese and mix well. Place on the stove top over medium heat and heat through. Serve immediately.
  • Option 2: Portion out only what you will serve right then and crumble feta cheese and mix together (amount based on how many shells you are using). Place the rest in the fridge (will keep for 2-3 days) or freezer for longer storage (portion it out first). When you remove the remainder from the fridge, toss with a little olive oil and salt and heat through. Then add the crumbled feta and stir until incorporated and the cheese is warm. If frozen, defrost first and follow the same directions. Enjoy!
  • Note: I am fairly conservative with the salt, because the feta cheese is so salty. After you add the feta, taste it and add more salt to taste.
  • Notes

    #1 This makes great homemade frozen food. Freeze in portions in a freezer safe container (I prefer to not mix in the feta before freezing). Remove from the freezer, defrost, and add a little olive oil and feta cheese and enjoy!

    #2 If you find spinach on sale or have a bunch coming out of your garden, go ahead and cook and puree it (according to recipe) and freeze it in freezer safe containers. Remove when you want to make shells and spinach and just defrost and toss with the pasta.

    6 Responses to“Shells and Spinach”

    1. 05/21/2015 at 12:18 pm #

      It looks delicious, Antonia! Five simple yet great ingredients combined together masterfully! Can’t get better than this!

      • Zoale.com
        05/21/2015 at 6:58 pm #

        Thanks so much for the sweet compliments Francesca! You really can’t, especially when you combine feta and spinach 🙂

    2. Sandhya
      05/21/2015 at 4:38 pm #

      Looks yummy and healthy!

      • Zoale.com
        05/21/2015 at 7:01 pm #

        Thank you Sandhya 🙂

    3. 05/25/2015 at 2:22 pm #

      Healthy and tasty pasta

      • Zoale.com
        05/26/2015 at 9:26 am #

        Thank you Vidya 🙂

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