I love Giada’s recipes because she manages to put pancetta in almost every dish and it’s absolutely delightful. I especially enjoyed this pancetta dish because it paired perfectly with the rich-tasting asiago cheese, which was then topped with an amazing creamy sauce. I will definitely be making this again and again!

Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis):

Yields 2 servings

  • 1/2 package jumbo shells pasta (about 16 shells)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup grated asiago cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the past and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Remove pancetta from pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, pepper, and nutmeg.

Stir to combine.

Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.

Place stuffed shells in a large, buttered baking dish.

For the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cream and bring to a simmer.

Turn heat to very low and add 1 cup asiago cheese, parsley, and pepper, to taste.

Stir until cheese is dissolved.

Pour sauce over the shells.

Top with remaining 2 tablespoons asiago cheese and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.