Daybreak 5/7/09: Chef Yancy's Spinach-Artichoke Stuffed Shells


20 large pasta shells
1 can whole tomatoes (28 ounces)
3 tablespoons butter melted
7-8 leaves fresh basil (torn)
Salt, and freshly ground black pepper
A few grates of fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
1 box frozen, chopped spinach
1 box frozen or canned artichoke hearts (chopped)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, Reggiano cheeses
Zest of lemon
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 cup leaf parsley, chopped


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil the pasta. When the water reaches a bubble, salt it well, drop in the shells and cook them to al dente, according to the package directions.

While the shells are cooking, mash up the tomatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish. Stir the butter, basil and some salt and pepper, to taste, into the dish and set aside.

Place large skillet over medium high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the garlic tot he pan and cook until it's aromatic and light golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and nutmeg to the pan and cook to heat through.

Place spinach in large bowl and stir in the artichokes, ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, lemon zest, thyme, egg yolk, parsley, and some salt, and pepper. Fill the reserved pasta shells with the mixture, arranging them on top of the sauce in the casserole dish as you complete them.
Cover the dish with foil and place into oven. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and turn the oven to 425 degrees. continue coking until the filling is golden brown and bubbly, about 10 - 15 minutes.
Serve four shells on a plate topped with some sauce and parmigiano reggiano cheese and enjoy!
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