Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells with Sausage and Spinach

These appetizing sausage and spinach stuffed shells are ideal for making in advance! You can either freeze or refrigerate. And just pop them in the oven when you need it!
Stuffed shells, ricotta, tomato sauce, spinachThe filling is made with pork sausage, spinach, tomatoes and ricotta cheese. And GARLIC! And yes, they are rich, cheesy and so comforting. They also make your kitchen smell amazing and make you look good in front of family members.
Sausage, Spinach, Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed ShellsPrecooking jumbo shells. Shells need to be precooked before filling them with a stuffing. I cooked mine in a large pot of salted water for 10 minutes, drained them, and then transferred to a baking sheet to cool. They are going to stay there until the filling is done.
How to cook filling. Heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces in the pan. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes and spinach.
Stuffed Shells, Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, Ricotta
Cook on medium heat until heated through, about 4-5 minutes. You can also use your favorite tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones.

Stuffed shells, ricotta, tomato sauce, spinach
Next, ricotta cheese is added to make the mixture creamy. Stir it well with the rest of ingredients.
sausage, ricotta, spinach, stuffed shells
How to stuff shells. Each shell is stuffed with a tablespoon of the filling. You can stuff them on the baking sheet and then transfer them back to the pan to reheat. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and reheat for 5 minutes. They are ready to serve as is, sprinkled lightly with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Or, arrange the shells into the baking dish, and bake for 25 minutes (this is a good way to reheat these shells if making them in advance – make sure to sprinkle generously with Parmesan).

Sausage, Spinach, Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Sausage, Spinach, Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound fresh pork sausage, casings removed
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (more if desired)
  • Parsley (optional for decoration)

Instructions

  1. HOW TO COOK SHELLS: Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta shells then follow package directions for cooking the shells. Drain, and then rinse the shells with cold water. Set aside on a baking sheet.
  2. HOW TO MAKE FILLING: Heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces in the pan.
  3. Stir in the garlic, canned tomatoes and spinach. Cook until heated through and liquid reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the ricotta cheese. Taste for seasoning then adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. HOW TO STUFF SHELLS: Each shell is stuffed with a heaping tablespoon of the filling. You can stuff them on a baking sheet and then transfer them back to the pan to reheat. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and reheat for 5 minutes. They are ready to serve as is, sprinkled lightly with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  5. HOW TO FREEZE SHELLS: Make sure to freeze them on the baking sheet as individual pieces. Doing so will keep them from sticking to each other. Once frozen, shells can be transferred into a zip lock bag for storage.
  6. HOW TO REHEAT SHELLS: Preheat oven to 375F, arrange the shells into the baking dish, sprinkle with LOTS of Parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes (reheating in the oven is the preferred way to reheat these shells if making them in advance – just make sure to sprinkle generously with Parmesan).
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