20 jumbo (uncooked) pasta shells
3 cups pasta sauce
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish: 2 scallions, finely sliced
For the Filling:
For the Béchamel Sauce:
Preheat the oven to 400 °F, 200 °C.
Cook the pasta shells in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water so that the shells don’t stick together and to stop the cooking process.
To make the spinach filling: Warm the olive oil along with the garlic clove over medium heat for a few seconds or just until the garlic releases its aroma. Take care not to burn it or it will become extremely bitter.
Add the chopped spinach and cook just until it wilts, stirring often.
Place the wilted spinach in a large mixing bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, crumble the feta into the bowl, add the dill, and season with some black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Taste and add salt if needed. Mix in the beaten eggs and set aside.
To make the Béchamel sauce: Combine the flour and oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk well while cooking a few minutes until toasted.
Slowly add the milk in and whisk well to incorporate so that it is smooth and creamy.
Cook until it comes to a boil and thickens. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat.
Whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Add some of the hot milk mixture into the eggs and whisk to temper them so that they don't scramble when added to the cream sauce.
Add the eggs to the sauce and whisk well.
Add the parmesan (Gruyere) cheese and mix to combine.
To assemble everything:Pour a layer of tomato sauce in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
Stuff the shells with the spinach filling and arrange the shells over the sauce.
Pour some béchamel sauce over the shells and top with shredded mozzarella cheese and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake the tray of stuffed shells (on the middle oven rack) covered with foil for 25-30 minutes, then uncover and bake until the cheese is golden by turning the broiler element on for the last 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that they don’t burn.
Garnish the stuffed shells with some sliced scallions and serve. Enjoy!
Make Ahead Freezer Instructions: Thaw the tray of shells overnight in the refrigerator then bake as usual. If they are not thawed overnight, place them in the oven while it is still cold and allow them to warm through slowly while the oven is pre-heating. It will take about 15-20 minutes longer for the shells to cook.
Makes about 26 cookies:
The Wet Ingredients:
½ pound unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The Dry Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely ground toasted almonds
1-2 cups confectioners’ sugar for garnish
Optional garnish: cloves
Combine the butter, sugars, vanilla, and almond extract in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until combined. Increase the sped to high and beat until fluffy.
Add the egg yolks to the mixture and beat on high speed until combined.
Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk together.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat on low speed until a dough is formed.
Transfer the dough to a work surface lightly dusted with flour and roll out to almost ½ inch thick.
Cut out your favorite shapes using a cookie cutter and place on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
You can also make the traditional kourabiedes shape by rolling pieces of dough in your palms to form walnut sized balls. Press the center slightly with your index finger to form an indentation and if desired, place a clove in the center of each cookie.
Chill the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180°C.
Bake the cookies on the center rack for 20-25 minutes or until golden all around.
Set aside to cool.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with tea or coffee. These are also great to give as gifts!
Make Ahead Tips:Roll out the cookies and cut into your favorite shapes. Set in the freezer until chilled and very firm. Store the frozen cookies in freezer bags until ready to bake. Bake in a preheated 350 °F oven until golden.
Hi, I'm Dimitra and welcome to my blog! Here, I'll teach you just how much fun and easy it is to please a crowd with my versions of Greek classics. Kali Orexi as we say in Greek!