Stuffed Shells with Spinach
Stuffed shells recipe with spinach and three kinds of cheese! Ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella pair nicely with a homemade sausage marinara sauce.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (15ml)
- 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (227g)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion (67g) finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (3g)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (45ml)
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (794g) San Marzano recommended
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano dried
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (4g)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 16 jumbo pasta shells cook a couple extra in case some break
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (15ml)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (6g)
- 4 cups spinach leaves (144g, 5 ounces) packed, roughly chopped
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese (1 ½ cups) whole milk,
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (87g, 3 ounces) shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (30g, 1 ounce) finely shredded, plus more for garnish
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (3g)
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil (3g)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (6g)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, once hot add sausage. Break meat up into small pieces as it cooks and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Add onion and garlic to a pan, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, stir well to combine.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a simmer. Cover the pan, leaving a small opening for steam to escape, and lower the heat to low so that the sauce is simmering.
Cook sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add some water if the sauce starts to look dry. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Add meat sauce to a 9x13-inch baking dish, spread evenly in the pan.
Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 400°F (204ºC) degrees.
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place shells on a sheet pan then set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, once hot add 2 teaspoons garlic and saute until fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds.
Add spinach and cook, occasionally stirring, until the leaves begin to wilt but are still bright green, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Stir together cooled spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
Transfer cheese filling into a large resealable plastic bag or piping bag. Cut off the edge of the bag and pipe each pasta shell with ricotta mixture, and place in a baking dish.
Cover the shells with aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue cooking until the sauce begins to bubble about 5 minutes.
Serve warm with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
- Store-bought tomato sauce can be used, add 3 cups (28 ounces) with the browned sausage and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Ground chicken, turkey, or beef can be substituted for sausage.
- MAKE IT LOW-CARB: Instead of pasta shells, use zucchini (thin sheets or boats), small bell peppers, or mushrooms caps (portobello medium or large sizes).
Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1150mg | Potassium: 639mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2130IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 322mg | Iron: 2.9mg