Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Spinach: your weeknight answer to homemade lasagna without the hassle! Be sure to watch the recipe video too!
What’s not to love about stuffed shells?!
Loaded with a variety of cheeses and marinara sauce, this pasta dish is a total crowd-pleaser. To change it up, you can add a little Italian Sausage or different herbs to the sauce. Also, it’s easy to double the recipe and freeze one batch.
If you’re not a fan of spinach, throw in some arugula instead for a peppery bite!
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Cheesy Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
These cheesy jumbo stuffed shells are a bit more involved than a simple pasta dish but a lot less fussy than homemade lasagna. They will fill you up and pair perfectly with a dinner salad.
1jar (24 oz.) or 1 1/4 cup marinara sauceI use homemade pasta sauce
16 oz.Italian Sausage (spicy/hot)optional
1/2cupgrated Parmesanplus more for serving
1tsp.of garlic powder
4cupschopped baby spinach (pat dry with paper towels)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil water for jumbo shells and cook shells al dente (about 8-9 minutes), drain and set aside on parchment paper to cool. (If making with Italian Sausage, cook the sausage now and set aside in a bowl).
Heat olive oil in pan for 30 seconds on medium heat and then add in garlic, stir for 30 more seconds. Then add in dry, chopped spinach, stir and cook for 2 minutes or until leaves wilt and turn bright green. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, spinach mixture, egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, garlic powder and salt and pepper until combined. Line 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce into the bottom on a 9×13 inch oven safe baking dish. Stuff each pasta shell with a heaping Tbsp. of the spinach/ricotta mixture and place in dish. *If using Italian sausage, put ground sausage in first, then cheese mixture on top.
Cover the shells with the leftover red sauce and bake, covered with foil, for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil, top with additional mozzarella cheese and then cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with Parmesan sprinkled on top!
*Jumbo Shells: always boil off a few extra shells just in case some shells tear in the cooking process.You can sub ground turkey for the Italian sausage is desired, or leave out the meat completely. *Be sure dry your spinach because you don’t want any water from the spinach leaves to mix with the hot oil in your pan when you begin the wilting step!
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