Succulent Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Succulent Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells.  Say that five times fast.

So all day I have been deciding what I want for dinner.  I knew I wanted to stuff something into shells, I just wasn’t sure what.  Apparently, our Pinterest Board has multiple stuffing of shells recipes, probably all me.

So I looked at the ingredients list, and decided it was doable with minimal shopping.  However, I went to Target and ended up spending 52 dollars on God knows what.  Except, I needed to go elsewhere for the jumbo shells.  ANYWAYS…

  • 16-18 jumbo pasta shells I used 20.  This actually ended up being a good idea, because we still had extra stuffing after stuffing all 20.  We just heated it up and served it with dinner.
  • 1 pound fresh pork sausage links, casing removed I used hot sausage. Did you know that you can buy sausage without casing? genius.  Except, we didn’t.  So I removed the casing with a knife. 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic There was a point where I thought we were out. Quick Panic, false alarm.
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze dry I used the entire box, which was about 1 2/3 cup.
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese I put a little more than 1/2 c, maybe an extra 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese Measuring cheese is for the weak. I just sprinkle it on.
  • salt and freshly ground pepper I did not use pepper not salt for this recipe.  
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook according to package directions. Drain well then add to ice water until ready to stuff. I’m not sure why you need them in ice water, but I did it.  I guess it’s easier when holding them to stuff?
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork sausage then use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage, cook 5-6 minutes until browned. I don’t know what kind of sausages this recipe has, but mine took more than that to brown.  
  3. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds then add tomatoes and spinach (make sure the thawed frozen spinach has been squeezed dry); cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in ricotta cheese. First of all, I don’t know why dry spinach isn’t used.  “drying” spinach is not fun, nor is it that necessary.  I put the spinach in the strainer.  That’s my version of “drying” the spinach. I also thought because of my lack of drying, the mixture seemed a bit watery which I was afraid would be problem.  It wasn’t. 
  1. Using a spoon, fill pasta shells with pork filling and arrange in a baking dish (9-inch x 9-inch baking dish works well).
  1.  Sprinkle cover tops with shredded cheese then bake in the oven 25-30 minutes until cheese has melted and tips of shells begin to crisp and brown.

and oven: