Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes | Servings: 8
These are the best-stuffed shells I’ve made! This recipe uses three kinds of cheese; Ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella paired perfectly with the homemade sausage marinara sauce.
1 tsp minced garlic
½ lb. mild Italian sausage
1 tbsp olive oil
½ c. yellow onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
28 oz. crushed tomatoes, San Marzano recommended
½ tsp oregano, dried
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
16 jumbo pasta shells, cook a couple extra in case some break
4 c. spinach leaves, packed, roughly chopped
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ c. Parmesan cheese, finely shredded, plus more for garnish
15 oz. ricotta cheese, whole milk
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 large egg
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
How to make Stuffed Shells with Spinach
To make the Sauce:
Step 1: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes until no longer pink, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks.
Step 2: To the pan, add the onion and garlic. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Then, add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Next, stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, ¾ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper.
Step 3: Adjust the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Partially cover the pan and adjust the heat to low, allowing the sauce to simmer.
Step 4: Cook for additional 15 minutes, stirring often. You can add a splash of water if the sauce looks dry. If needed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5: To a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, add the meat sauce, evenly spreading it in the pan.
Step 6: To the center position, set the oven rack and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or 204 degrees C.
Step 7: Following the package directions, cook the pasta in a large pot with 3 quarts of boiling water. Drain when done and transfer the shells to a sheet pan. Set aside.
Step 8: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Then, add 2 tsp garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring until aromatic.
Step 9: Add the spinach and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring often until it begins to wilt. Take off the heat and allow it to cool.
Step 10: Combine the cooled spinach, ricotta (1 ½ c.), mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, parsley, basil, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Into a large resealable plastic bag or piping bag, transfer the cheese filling. Snip off one corner of the bag and pipe the ricotta mixture into each pasta shell. Place the filled pasta shells in the baking dish.
Step 11: Tent the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake the stuffed shells for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble.
Step 12: Serve the Stuffed Shells with Spinach warm garnished with Parmesan cheese.
In this recipe, you can use store-bought tomato sauce. To the browned sausage, add 3 c. or 28 ounces of tomato sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
You can use ground chicken, beef, or turkey in place of sausage.
If making this dish low-carb, use thin sheets or boats zucchini, bell peppers, or mushroom caps (portobello medium or large sizes) in place of the pasta shells.
Amount per Serving: Calories 402 Fat 25g 38% Saturated Fat 11g 55% Cholesterol 90mg 30% Sodium 1150mg 48% Potassium 639mg 18% Carbohydrates 24g 8% Fiber 3g 12% Sugar 6g 7% Protein 20g 40% Vitamin A 2130IU 43% Vitamin C 16mg 19% Calcium 322mg 32% Iron 2.9mg 16%
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