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Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells


1 Cook pasta shells: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water). Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

2 Cook onions, then sausage, then add garlic: Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Lower the heat to medium. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.

3 Make ricotta spinach stuffing: Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture.

4 Fill pasta shells with stuffing: Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.

5 Arrange stuffed shells on chopped canned tomatoes in baking dish: Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.

At this point you can make ahead, to freeze (up to four months) or refrigerate before cooking. (If freezing, cover with foil, then wrap with plastic wrap.)

6 Bake: Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling.

Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

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Sausage Stuffed Pasta Shells

Bring everyone to the table with tender pasta shells stuffed with Jimmy Dean ® Pork Sausage, onions, peppers, herbs and spices.


18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

⅓ cup (about 1 ½ ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 jar (24-26 ounces) spaghetti sauce


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook shells according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook sausage, onion, red pepper and garlic in large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat 8-10 minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently drain.

Mix ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and oregano in large bowl. Stir in sausage mixture.

Drain shells rinse with cool water. Spread 1 cup sauce onto bottom 13x9-inch baking dish. Add shells fill each with about ¼ cup of the sausage mixture. Cover with remaining sauce, and remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover.

Bake 50 minutes or until shells are thoroughly heated and cheese is melted and lightly browned, uncovering after 30 minutes.

  • Jumbo Pasta Shells: Are cooked in salted water until al dente before baking. Make sure not to overcook the pasta.
  • Onions & Garlic: Are added to give the ricotta stuffed shells lots of flavor.
  • Spinach: I prefer to use fresh spinach however frozen spinach can be substituted. You can also substitute the spinach for kale in this recipe if you have it on hand.
  • Cheese: I use a blend of ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. I recommend buying the blocks of parmesan and mozzarella and shredding them yourself. They will add so much more flavor and won’t add as much water to the cheese stuffed shells.
  • Tomato Sauce: Use your favorite jar of marinara or use homemade tomato sauce.
  • Seasonings: I add in salt and pepper to taste.
  • Boil Pasta: Until al dente according to package directions.
  • Saute Veggies: Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until tender about 3-4 minutes. Next add in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • Make Filling: Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl and add in ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Assemble: Spread about 1/2 of the sauce in the bottom of a 8 x8 or 9 x 9 baking dish. Stuff shells with the spinach cheese mixture and place in the baking dish. Top with the remaining sauce.
  • Bake: In a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Serve: The Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese.
  • Store: Leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: In a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

These chorizo sausage and ricotta stuffed pasta shells are making my comfort food dreams come true!

Not only is this dish impressive looking but it’s also very delicious with multiple flavor layers.

I’m not sure about you but when I hear that word “stuffed“, I immediately know it will be mega delicious.

Although I am using chorizo turkey sausage in this recipe, you can also use pork or chicken sausage.

I recommend going to the meat counter and seeing what is available and looks good!

Raw sausages that already have some spices and are in the casings and my favorites to use.

To add a short cut, I use crushed fire roasted tomatoes. San Marzano’s are the best so look for the SM sign on the tomato carton or can!

Learn more about why San Marzano tomatoes are the best ever here!

You can also try this recipe with my homemade marinara sauce.

This recipe uses both creamy ricotta and melty mozzarella cheese for that ultimate comfort food goal.

The two cheese compliment each other so well but as always, you can customize and use whatever cheeses you have on hand.

A fontina or mild cheddar also make for great additions.

Like with most Italian pasta dishes, this recipe is simple but uses high quality ingredients.

Although this is not considered the most healthy, I am sneaking in some spinach for some nutritional value.

Kale would also work great!

If you make these chorizo sausage and ricotta stuffed pasta shells, please consider leaving your review in the comment section below.

You Will Need

20 jumbo dried pasta shells

1 pound fresh pork sausage, casings removed (see note)

3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1 1/4 cups)

4 ounces ricotta cheese (about 1/2 cup)

2 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Warm marinara sauce, for serving (optional)

Sausage, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Authentic Italian stuffed pasta, perfect for feeding the entire family or for leftovers. Sausage, mushroom, spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells create a unique casserole full of flavor.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

In this household, we&rsquore all about leftovers. While we like to try new restaurants once or twice a week, every other meal is homemade. To save time and the need to make almost 20 recipes, leftovers are a real life saver. This results in way less meals cooked per week.

There&rsquos classic leftover dishes such as spaghetti, soups, stews and casseroles. To keep thing interesting, it&rsquos even better to repurpose leftovers into other meals. These Sausage, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells can be made with your leftover spaghetti sauce.
It&rsquos an authentic Italian recipe of jumbo pasta shells stuffed with an Italian sausage, mushroom, spinach and ricotta filling. The texture is thick and creamy and packs rich flavor. Full of veggies and protein, this easy weeknight dinner recipe is perfect for feeding the entire family.

For the sauce I used Bertolli® Tomato and Basil. Not just Italian flavor, it&rsquos classic Tuscan with premium, fresh ingredients and handed-down traditions.

With minimal and natural ingredients like tomatoes, onions, olive oil and herbs, you&rsquoll feel good about sharing this sauce with your family. There&rsquos even organic varieties, which is the preferred choice for most ingredients I cook with. You can find more recipe ideas and tips here.

Whether you&rsquore feeding a family, group or just want leftovers, these stuffed pasta shells will be a hit. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for easy meals throughout the week. It also freezes well for easy meal prep and batch cooking.

Sausage, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells recipe at-a-glance:

Difficulty: Medium
Flavor profiles: Rich meaty Italian sausage with creamy ricotta and fresh veggies.
Texture: Thick and creamy cheese filling in tender pasta shells.

Leave a comment below and star rating if you made this recipe or want to share your thoughts.

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Freezer Meal Method

It's easiest and most convenient to make this dish exactly as the recipe lays out, but use sturdy foil baking trays to assemble it in. That way you don't have to use up your casserole dish for who knows how long until you're ready to bake it.

You do not need to bake this before freezing it.

To bake it, preheat the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Bake the pasta shells, uncovered for 45-55 minutes until heated through and browned on the edges.

If the edges or top are getting too browned, too quickly just cover it with a bit of foil, and remove the foil during the last 10-20 minutes of cooking time.

Sausage, Ricotta, and Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Shells Pasta is a delicious main deal for the whole family. This recipe combines ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, and spinach stuffed into the shells. A spicy layer of Hot or Mild Italian sausage completes the meal. A family favorite Italian dinner! *This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure page.

Hello, friends! I am popping in today to share these stuffed pasta shells with sausage and my love of Italian food. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a major cheesehead. Smoked Gouda, Swiss, Sharp Cheddar, you name it and I probably love it. I even grate my own parmesan. It is much cheaper that way too!

So, of course, delectable cheese combinations find their way into my family’s dinner as well. Cheese and Italian food are the most frequent combination and with good reason. It’s delicious! One of my family’s favorite suppers is my Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells. Now I may be a cheesehead, but this dish really does need something more than just the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan base. So I add spinach which also makes me feel good as a mom when I tell people, “Yes, my son eats spinach, no problem!” (We can keep the cheese part just between us.)

For this meal, I do have a few tips that are included in the full recipe at the bottom of this post. First, let’s talk about garlic. Garlic is synonymous with Italian cooking and yet I am not that big a garlic fan. I mean I like it, but I want it to enhance a meal, not wince at the garlic flavor.

Ok, now forget everything I said and add a TON of garlic to this dish. Over the years, I have found that the cheese filling really mellows the garlic flavor when it is baking in the oven. What works is basically adding garlic into the cheese filling a teaspoon at a time until you think you have put a little too much. Even at 4 tsp, I wince my eyes and think “Whew! Garlic!” (not in a good way) I’m telling you to go overboard! Be fearless! It will be amazing!

The second tip is that this stuffed shells recipe has always made more than a 9吉 standard baking dish size. This is not a mistake. I have had some boxes of those jumbo shells with like 1/3 of them broken and other times I just put the additional ingredients in a separate baking dish (I have used up to a 5࡯ pan) for additional leftovers or possibly even a vegetarian variety. The best idea though is to freeze the second sausage and spinach stuffed shells dish after it’s stuffed and set up for another night.

I’m hungry now. It’s almost midnight here so I’m thinking cheese and crackers for a late night snack. Do you have a favorite cheesy dish? I would love to hear about it, and maybe even swap some cheesehead love! (Or is that too cheezy, HA!)

Sausage, Ricotta, and Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells are a delicious main deal for the whole family. This recipe combines ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, and spinach stuffed into the shells. A spicy layer of Hot or Mild Italian sausage completes the meal. A family favorite Italian dinner!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Skill Level : beginner
Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 50 minutes
Passive Time : 10 minutes
Servings 8

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 (16 ounce) package finely shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar prepared marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook shells in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet place drained pasta on baking sheet to cool.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. Cook and crumble sausage until it has lost its pink color and begins to brown. Remove from heat drain off grease.

Stir half of the shredded cheese and the Italian seasoning into the browned sausage. Spoon mixture into the pasta shells (1 to 2 tablespoons per shell). Arrange stuffed shells in prepared baking dish. Pour marinara sauce evenly over the shells. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven until heated through and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove foil bake until browned, 5 to 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of Italian seasoning, if desired.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the shells for 1 minute less than indicated on the box. Drain and let cool. Spray a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Heat a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sausage and cook until browned, while stirring and breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots and onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes if using, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer on medium-low, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the basil at the end.

Rinse the spinach in a colander with cold water. With water still clinging to the leaves, add the spinach to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and toss with tongs until wilted. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool, wrap in paper towels and squeeze out any excess moisture. Chop roughly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add the spinach, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the egg and give it a stir until well combined.

Spread 3 ladlefuls of sauce on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Stuff each shell with about 1 heaping tablespoon of spinach and cheese mixture. Place the shells in the dish and then cover with more sauce. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and keep baking until the cheese is melted and bubbly, another 5 minutes.

Stuffed Shells Recipe: You Have Got to Make This Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells Recipe With Garlic Cream Sauce (Trust Me) by Donna John

A few simple ingredients transforms pasta shells into a rich, creamy and memorable meal for family or dinner guests. The garlic cream sauce is a showstopper and smells heavenly wafting from the oven as it bakes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

  • 1 box (10 ounces) jumbo shells
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Here's how to make it:

Boil the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

For the garlic cream sauce, add the heavy cream and garlic to a small pot. Simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt, to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the sauce simmers, brown the sausage in a skillet until cooked through. Add the spinach and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Mix well.

Stuff the cooked shells with the sausage mixture and place into a baking dish that's been oiled lightly with olive oil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Pour the garlic cream sauce over the top. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for about 30 minutes.

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