Sausage, Ricotta, and Spinach Stuffed Shells – This easy Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells recipe is down home Italian comfort food. Hearty and thick, this recipe combines creamy ricotta, melty cheeses, Spinach and Italian sausage for a family favorite Italian dinner!
- 1 package Jumbo Pasta Shells 16oz
- 32 oz Ricotta about 4 cups
- 12 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 Eggs
- 4 teaspoon Garlic Powder *see note
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ¾ cup Shredded Parmesan
- 45 oz Spaghetti sauce large jar
- 4 cups Fresh Spinach rough chopped and stems removed if you prefer
- 1 lb Italian sausage ground or casings removed
- parsley for garnish dried or fresh
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain any excess fat and remove from heat.
Bring water to boil and add the shells. Cook the shells until they are pliable for filling and no more. This means the shells should still feel hard, but they are bendable for stuffing.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, 8oz of mozzarella, ½ cup of parmesan, eggs, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir in the spinach.
Coat the bottom of a 9x13in pan with the ½ jar of spaghetti sauce. Spoon the cheese mixture into the shells and place shells open side up, close together in the dish. There will be more shells than will fit into this pan and you can either make a second smaller pan (5×8 is good) or freeze for future use. Sometimes the shells also break in the box so this is fine.
Add the rest of the spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the sausage over the top of the shells. Then sprinkle with the remaining 4oz of mozzarella and ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil, preferably tented so it doesn’t stick to the cheese. Bake for 25-40 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. The more packed/full the casserole dish, the longer it will take to bake. You know it’s ready when the cheesy is melted and bubbly. Look for bubbles along the sides of the dish.
If you like a cheesy crust, you may broil it uncovered for 3-5 minutes (watch closely). Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I am not a huge fan of garlic, but I find that this recipe really absorbs the garlic and mellows the flavor while baking. I usually put enough garlic powder until I think “wow, I put too much in”. That is actually the perfect amount.
Serve: After these come out of the oven, I usually give them about 10 minutes so they aren’t burning hot and to thicken up.
Store: Leftovers are amazing! This recipe is one of hubby’s favorites to pack for work. It keeps them fresher and easier to reheat in the microwave. For reheating, I don’t want to heat toppings like sour cream or cilantro. They are good for 4-5 days.
Reheat: This easy Chicken Enchilada recipe keeps and reheats well both in the oven and in the microwave.
- OVEN: Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- MICROWAVE: You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave by transferring to a microwave safe plate and microwaving for 90 seconds. I usually cut it up with a fork to evenly heat in the microwave without cold spots. Continue to microwave at 30 second intervals until heated through.
Freeze: I generally recommend freezing the extra sausage stuffed shells, just before baking. That way you can just pop it into the oven, although you will have to bake it for longer. I usually bake it covered for about 50-60 minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything is cooked through. In an airtight container, this recipe should last 3-4 months.