1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out excess water
12 oz skim-milk ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 large egg (optional)
1 tablespoon oregano
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the shells al dente, according to directions. Put back in pot and drizzle
With olive oil and mix carefully not to break shells. This keeps them from sticking together. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil begins ribbon, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the frozen spinach about 3 to 4. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a mixing bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, optional egg, oregano and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Pour 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a shallow 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Stuff each pasta shell with the spinach and ricotta mixture, and place in the baking dish.
Cover with the remaining sauce and bake covered for 20-25 minutes. Remove the covering and continue baking until the top begins to brown and the sauce begins the bubble, another 15 minutes. Serve hot topped with Parmesan.
Budino in Italian means pudding but this is more like a molten cake, moist and almost gooey in the middle when served warm from the oven. I like to serve the budino with a scoop of homemade Banana Chocolate-Chunk Ice Cream (in my cookbook, Cooking From the Hip), but it's also great with creme anglaise and fresh raspberries or strawberries.