Stacey's Savory & Sweet Home Cooking

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Italian Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells in a Tomato Cream Sauce

Posted by Stacey @ Savory & Sweet on August 20, 2013 at 8:55 AM

(Photo Credit for above: Amy Florentino & Tina Baron)

Makes 6 servings

For Shells

1lb (about 6 small links) Sweet Italian Sausage. (Or ground sausage if available).

 1 Tablespoon of EV Olive Oil

1 Box of Jumbo Shells

1 14oz Container Ricotta Cheese

2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves

1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Egg

Salt & Pepper

For Tomato Cream Sauce

1 Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes

1/2 med Yellow Onion, chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

4 Tablespoons Butter

2 Tablespoons of Flour

1 Pint Heavy Cream

2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Preheat large (fairly deep, if you're using it for sauce as well), skillet on medium heat for sausages. If you have sausage links; using a small knife, carefully remove outside casing. Add oil to heated pan. Brown sausage and beak down into smaller pieces as it's cooking. A few minutes before they're done, add in spinach and let wilt.

Set the browned sausage into a large bowl. I left about 1/4 of it aside on a plate to add into the sauce later. To the bowl, add the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup of  the mozzarella, parmesan, egg and sprinkle salt & pepper. Mix to incorporate ingredients well.

Start a pot of water to boil for the pasta.

For the sauce, I used the same large skillet that I cooked the sausage in. (As long as there aren't any really burnt pieces on the bottom.)

Chop the whole tomatoes into bite size pieces. Save the sauce from the can. Add butter to the pan on medium heat and let melt. Once the butter is half-way melted, add the onions and cook until butter is completely melted. Add in minced garlic and let cook for another minute. Sprinkle in flour and whisk well. After cooking for about 2 mins, whisk in heavy cream. Let the sauce thicken for another 3-4 minutes while continuing to whisk. Once sauce is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon, mix in the chopped tomatoes, sauce, parmesan cheese and left over sausage. Season with garlic poweder and salt & pepper to taste. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice or a bit of lemon zest if you have it handy. I didn't do it here, but I love the hint of lemon in a cream sauce! You can leave sauce on a low heat until ready to use and serve.

Once water comes to a boil, salt, and add pasta. Cook about 9-10 minutes. Drain out water from shells and put back into pot. I added a bit of oil and left a little bit of the pasta water in with the shells to prevent them from sticking.

To assemble shells, take a 9X10 (or larger) glass dish and add a layer of sauce to the bottom, just enough to cover. Spoon filling into each shell and place on top of sauce. Once dish is filled, sprinkle the tops with the left over 1/4 cup of mozzrella cheese. You can add more or less depending on your desired cheesiness

Bake for 20-25 minutes uncovered. Serve with the left over sauce and crusty bread to soak up the tasty sauce! Enjoy! :)

Categories: Pasta

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