Baked Shells Stuffed with Ricotta, Spinach & Sausage

Gayle McLeod | September 20, 2015

These little beauties have all the elements of a lasagne, but easier to assemble and make a comforting dinner for the whole family any night of the week. Spooning the prepared filling into the shells is a fun job for little hands and kids love the neat little shell bundles when it comes time to eat. This recipe is very flexible, so feel free to change it with different filling options or larger shells. Leftovers make fantastic lunches the next day.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

30 uncooked medium pasta shells (approximately and depends on size)

1 tsp olive oil

2-3 links of Italian Sausage (about 400 grams)

1 500g container of Ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated

1 cup of chopped fresh spinach (packed), or well-drained frozen spinach

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 container Fresh Tomato & Basil Bisque, thawed

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the olive oil and pasta to the boiling water and cook the shells to al dente according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and immediately separate them in a single layer on cookie sheets or parchment paper. 

While the noodles are cooking, remove the casing from the sausage and crumble into a hot pan. Cook until browned, breaking up large pieces with wooden spoon. Remove from pan to drain on paper towels and allow to cool. Drain any excess fat from the pan and add the Fresh Tomato & Basil Bisque over low heat; warm gently. Pour the warmed soup into the bottom of a large baking dish or lasagne pan. 

In a medium bowl combine the cooked sausage with the Ricotta & Mozzarella cheeses, eggs, chopped spinach & oregano.

Spoon the filling into the pasta shells and arrange in the baking dish. Repeat this process until the baking dish is full. If you have some left over, you can freeze the extra stuffed shells for a later day.

Cover the shells with foil and bake in a preheated oven for 25 mins. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the shells are heated through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese before serving.

Enjoy!

 

Note: This recipe will handle substitutions very well... try different cheeses like Provolone or Romano; add sautéed mushrooms to the filling instead of sausage for a vegetarian option. You can also make the shells ahead and assemble the dish just before baking - simply skip the step of warming the soup in the pan and adjust your cooking time as it will take a few minutes longer.

 

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