Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

When I was planning my menus for the week, I had to come up with a good pasta dish. My friend was coming over to watch the Bachelorette on Monday night, and she loves my pasta dishes.

I stumbled upon this one for Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells on Joelen's blog. I read it, made a mental note of it, but didn't have the recipe nearby when I started cooking so I just winged it based on what I remembered from hers and past experiences with baked or stuffed pastas. Looking back at her recipe, my version was similar.

What I did differently - I didn't use the egg, used fresh spinach instead of frozen, I think I used more sausage (used a whole package, sausage rolls out to about 20 inches long, maybe more), I added sauce into the stuffing mixture, I threw in some freshly chopped parsley, and used less cheese and sauce on top. Here is what I did -

  • 24 shells; my box said jumbo shells, but they were on the small side
  • 1 package hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 1.5 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 16 oz part skim ricotta
  • Approximately 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 jar (28 oz) tomato sauce


  • Cook the pasta shells in boiling, salted water. Drain and rinse. In the meantime -
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan
  • Using your hands, crumble the sausage into the pan. I wanted the pieces to be pretty small, so this took me a while. Continue to stir the sausage; cook until browned.
  • Add red pepper flakes, oregano, onions, and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in parsley.
  • In a separate pan, heat olive oil. Add spinach and cook until slightly wilted, only 1-2 minutes. Add spinach to the sausage mixture.
  • Remove sausage/spinach mixture to a bowl.
  • Add ricotta, half of the mozzarella, and about 1/3 of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce out in a baking dish.
  • Put a large spoonful of the sausage mixture in each shell; place in a baking dish seam side down.
  • Spread some sauce across all of the shells and top with the remaining mozzarella.
  • Cover and bake on 375 for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

The test...Jon doesn't like ricotta at all, but he was surprised at how much he liked these shells. Me too! They had great flavor, had a nice kick, and were creamy and comforting. The three of us finished about 18 of them!

They took a little bit of work, but were well worth it. I will definitely make these again, possibly with manicotti pasta for something different.

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  1. This look amazing MaryEllen!!! What did you think of the Bachlotte??? I wish Reid would have one, however, Ed and Jillian seemed so happy at The Final Rose. We shall see who the next Bachelor is!!!! I hope all is well.


  2. Looks great and I love the presentation! These stuffed shells are so versatile, anything goes and it's great to just wing it... I know I usually do based on what I have on hand :) It's great catching up with your blog with all the delicious entries you've posted recently and hopefully I'll have more time in the future to stop by and comment!