I ❤ ricotta stuffed “anything” but when you add pasta it’s even better! The spinach in this dish adds a touch of flavor and color, and the sweet Italian sausage with marinara round it out as a well balanced meal. You can’t go wrong. 🙂
If you’re looking for a delicious meal that feeds a crowd FOR SUPER CHEAP look no further! This easy dinner idea will leave you with a huge pan of zesty creamy Italian deliciousness.
If you’re looking for a smaller amount you can easily cut the recipe in half, OR freeze the leftovers (they freeze well).
“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”
– Calvin Trillin
Mom, is that you??
Here are the ingredients and just ignore the Jarlsberg cheese – I ran out of Parmesan.
You can find sweet Italian sausage in the pork section of the meat aisle. It’s surprisingly cheap and versatile so I tend to keep a pound of it in my freezer most the time.
You can use homemade marinara sauce if you prefer…. which I DO prefer but having a few jars of Prego on hand is a time saver……. so there’s that. 🙂
To get started, brown the sausage, drain the fat, and mix in the sauce. Season with S&P to taste. Set aside. Let’s see how many times I can say “set aside.” <<That counts as #2!!
Next, boil the large shells until they are ‘al dente’ and then run them under cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. << #3
Rinse the spinach well.
Cook it over medium heat. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil (optional), and season with S&P.
It only takes a few minutes to cook spinach so watch closely. Once it’s wilted, SET ASIDE. #4
OOPS. I thought I had Parmesan cheese. You really should use parm because it gives that rich, nutty, Italian flavor that works so well with ricotta.
I decided to go for it and just use the Jarlsberg. Turned out delicious 😉
Mix together the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
Then add the entire tub of Ricotta, one egg, a teaspoon of your favorite Italian seasoning, and salt.
Lastly, mix in the spinach and set aside. <<#5!!!!! hahahaha I crack myself up sometimes but I’m not sure why….
Oh well 😀
This is the assembly stage and when I usually preheat my oven.
Start by spraying a 13×9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and then lay down the entire pan of sauce like a little bed for your darling stuffed shells.
Now stuff each shell and push it down into the sauce. I managed to fit two dozen shells into my 13×9 inch dish.
Bake covered in foil but remove the foil for the last five minutes or so.
Serve with garlic breadsticks and you’re a hero. Add a side salad and you’ve just won the evening! Pair with wine… and well…. I’m on my way!!
Enjoy xoxo 🙂
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 1 – 12 ounce box Jumbo Shells
- 1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage
- 1 jar Marinara Sauce
- 1 – 12 oz container Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 3 to 4 cups Fresh Spinach
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Basil (or Italian seasoning)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- S&P to taste
- Quick Garlic Bread Twists
Over medium-high heat brown the Italian sausage, then drain the grease and mix in one jar (3 cups) of marinara sauce. Set aside.
Next, boil the shells according to the instructions on the package, until they’re ‘al dente’ and then run them under cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Now rinse 3-4 cups of fresh spinach before wilting it down in a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil (optional) and season with S&P. Set aside.
In a medium bowl mix together the Mozzarella, Parmesan, Ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning and salt. Now mix in the spinach. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish. Fill the dish with all of the meat sauce. Stuff each shell and set in the sauce. You’ll get anywhere from 24-30 shells. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil for the last five minutes. If preferred, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before plating.
Serve with garlic bread and salad…………Oh, and don’t forget the wine. Enjoy!