Sausage Stuffed Shells with Spinach

Sausage Stuffed Shells with Spinach

Recipe by Annie Sarah


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 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)


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta shells then follow package directions for cooking the shells. Drain, and then rinse the shells with cold water.
  • Meanwhile, heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces in the pan.
  • Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, as well as the thawed and ringed out spinach. Cook until heated through and liquid reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the ricotta cheese. Taste for seasoning then adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fill each shell with sausage filling and arrange into the baking dish. Scatter mozzarella cheese on top. Bake until the tips of the shells begin to brown and the cheese has melted, about 25 minutes. Serve with a warm marinara sauce (optional).


  • Depending on the store, you can find bulk sausage. If you cannot and instead buy sausage formed into links, remove the casings by cutting a slit down the sausage and pulling the casing away from the meat.Remove Sausage Casings
    Cooked fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen. Cook about 1 pound of fresh spinach until wilted, squeeze out excess moisture and add to the filling.
    The filling can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about 3 months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags. To thaw, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
    Baked shells freeze well. Let them cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it well with foil (we use two layers). Defrost the frozen shells overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
    Filled and unbaked shells can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover the unbaked stuffed shells with foil then bake the next day in a 350 degree F oven.
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