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5 from 2 votes

Spinach Stuffed Shells with Sausage

Spinach Stuffed Shells, topped with Sausage and an abundance of decadent mozzarella cheese. Freezes beautifully.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Basil and Bubbly

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach an ounce or two under or over won’t kill you, feel free to substitute fresh, chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 6 leaves fresh basil shredded
  • 3 cups ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 32 ounces of your favorite red pasta sauce
  • 16 ounces loose bulk Italian Sausage ( optional )
  • 1 gallon freezer zip-top baggie for filling the shells optional, but makes life easier

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the shells in the water for approximately half of the listed cooking time on the package ( around 6 minutes for the shells I used ).
  • Cook the spinach according to package directions. Let cool, squeeze the water out.
  • Mix the garlic, spinach, parsley, basil, ricotta, eggs, half of the parmesan, all of the salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  • If you'd like to include the sausage ( SO GOOD! But usually only added as a special treat in my house ), brown it in a pan over medium high heat for 4 - 6 minutes, crumbling it up with a cooking utensil in the pan as it cooks.
  • Prepare one 8x11 pan and one 9x9 pan ( or a second 8x11 -- I don't have two so I have to cram into my 9x9 ) by pouring the tomato sauce into the bottom of each pan.
  • Put the filling into the freezer bag, cut 1" off of the corner to make a piping bag. Pipe each shell almost full with filling. Place each filled shell into one of the pans.
  • Split the remaining cheeses ( mozzarella and parmesan ) between the two dishes -- covering the shells in both dishes with cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes to eat tonight. Freezing directions in "Notes".

Notes

I use my mushroom marinara for this recipe to make it a little extra special. I'll get the exact recipe up one of these days, but you can fake it in the meantime by adding 8 ounces of chopped then sauteed mushrooms to your favorite red sauce, plus 1 cup of red wine, and then simmer until the red wine cooks down into the sauce.
TO FREEZE: Complete all directions except for the very last step ( the baking ). Instead of baking the dish, wrap it several times in foil, and then one last time with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. When you're ready to bake, remove the plastic and all but one layer of foil, and toss it in the oven at 350 F for 55 minutes, or until heated through, brown, and bubbly.