I have not been cooking much at all since we've come home from California. Work has been obnoxiously busy so there has not been a ton of time to putter in the kitchen. Of course this means a lot of meals grabbed on the fly - you know what that means . . . likely why I could not do up my pants last Friday. LOL
Anyway, I think I have digressed.
I made these stuffed shells a few weeks ago. They were amazing! Normally stuffed shells are made with a cheese stuffing - these ones will awake your inner caveman with the inclusion of sausage. Throw in some spinach and cheese and you have an amazing meal.
It is a simple recipe to follow - speaking of simple, did I say I found it on the Simply Recipe blog? My only caution - it makes a lot! We had a meal, a second meal, sent some home with friends, and then froze the rest. Not a problem when it tasted this great but if you weren't prepared to feed an army you might want to consider halving the recipe.
Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large egg<
16-ounces ricotta cheese
10-ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, chopped further (or 10 ounces chopped fresh spinach)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid, tomatoes broken up (or your favorite tomato or pasta sauce)
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.
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. 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.
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. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.
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.)
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.