This classic Italian dinner recipe is comfort food at its finest! These stuffed pasta shells are filled with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses along with spinach and topped with an Italian sausage studded marinara sauce. A generous sprinkling of more cheese makes this a dinner your family will love!
- 12 ounces Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced, about 2 cups
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 20 fresh basil leaves, chopped, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 32 jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Crumble the Italian sausage and add it to the pan. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes or until the sausage is thoroughly cooked. Drain off any grease.
- To the sauté pan, add the crushed tomatoes, 1/2 of the fresh basil, kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, the remaining fresh basil, and Italian seasoning.
- In a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, assemble the stuffed shells. Spread about 1 cup of the Italian sausage and tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish.
- Fill each pasta shell with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture and place in the baking dish. Continue filling all the shells. About 28 filled pasta shells fit snugly in the dish.
- Top the filled pasta shells with about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
- Serve with the remaining Italian sausage and tomato sauce.
- Make sure to drain off any grease after sautéing the Italian sausage so the sauce isn’t too oily.
- To make sure that the cheese and spinach filling is not watery, use part skim ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Also thoroughly squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach before adding it along with the cheeses.
- Add a few extra pasta shells to the pot when cooking them. Many times the shells will break or tear when cooking so the extras will come in handy.
- Category: entree
- Method: cook on stove top and bake in oven
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 4 shells
- Calories: 683
- Sugar: 10.5 g
- Sodium: 1446 mg
- Fat: 31.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 14.3 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 55.8 g
- Fiber: 7.4 g
- Protein: 43 g
- Cholesterol: 101 mg
Keywords: stuffed pasta shells, shells pasta, dinner ideas, stuffed pasta, Italian recipe