Shells with Spinach, Ricotta, and Raisins

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
25 min
7 min
18 min
In southern Italy, spinach, ricotta, and raisins are a popular trio. It’s one of those perfect combinations of taste and texture.


golden seedless raisins

¼ cup(s)

olive oil

1 Tbsp

uncooked onion(s)

1 medium, chopped

chopped frozen spinach

10 oz, thawed and squeezed dry

table salt

¼ tsp

uncooked pasta

4 oz, medium shells (about 2 cups)

part-skim ricotta cheese

¼ cup(s)

white pepper

tsp, freshly ground, or to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

4 Tbsp, freshly grated


  1. Put the raisins in a small bowl of hot water until plump and soft, about 10 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a medium nonstick skillet. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion. Sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes; reduce the heat to low. Stir in the spinach and salt; cook, stirring, until heated through. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the shells according to package directions. Drain and place in warmed serving bowl. Add the spinach mixture, the raisins, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with the pepper and serve at once. Yields 1 1/4 cups per serving.


This dish would have been forbidden in the early days of Weight Watchers, when raisins and pasta were not allowed! The sauce just gets better when it’s tossed with a pasta that traps those savory little chunks of flavor, such as shells; rigatoni will also work well. This is also a perfect pasta for company; you can assemble it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bring it to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Instead of the spinach, other greens like broccolini, broccoli, broccoli rabe, or Swiss chard would also work beautifully in this recipe. Steam them until tender but still bright green, about 10 minutes; drain in a colander under cold running water to stop the cooking, then proceed with the recipe.

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