With asparagus season in full swing, I’m often trying to find ways to incorporate this wonderful springtime vegetable into as many meals as possible. While it is fantastic as a side (which is something that happens a lot at our house), I really love working it into a main dish and giving it the focus it deserves!
These asparagus stuffed shells are one way to do just that. While a touch of mushrooms and spinach are also included, the asparagus is really the main focus. It’s cooked until crisp-tender in a skillet, before being stuffed into the pasta shells. After baking, it retains just a bit of crunch, allowing it to really stand out.
One of my other favorite parts about this dish is that it can be made ahead of time. You can fully assemble the dish as instructed in the recipe below, cover with foil and then keep in your refrigerator until you are ready to bake (add a few minutes to the baking time until it is heated through). Added bonus? These also freeze well!
When you’re cooking the jumbo pasta shells in the water, be very careful not to overcook them. I like to err on the side of just slightly undercooked, so that they don’t get mushy while baking. They are also much easier to stuff if you cook them to al dente.
One other tip for the shells – I always cook a few extra when making a dish like this. Inevitably a few break on me either while cooking in the water or if I’m not being gentle enough when stuffing them with the filling. If you make a few extra, you won’t end up short.
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