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A round baking dish with stuffed shells
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5 from 1 vote

Stuffed Shells

Shells stuffed with spinach and three cheeses cooked in a fabulous tomato sauce with either Italian or chicken sausage.  It makes enough for two dinners, one to enjoy and one to share or freeze for later. 
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: entree
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: ricotta cheese, shells, spinach
Servings: 10
Calories: 434kcal


  • 12 ounce box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage pork or chicken, casings removed
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounces tomato puree
  • ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese grated


  • Cook pasta, drain and sprinkle with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together, let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350º. Spray two 9 x 13 baking dishes with cooking spray.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and once it's hot, add sausage and cook until browned, stirring and breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, Italian seasoning, sugar and 1/2 cup water, and simmer on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Add salt as needed.
  • Mix ricotta, spinach, parmesan, eggs, and 1 cup mozzarella in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir until combined.
  • Spread most of the sauce on the bottom of the prepared dishes. Stuff shells with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture and place in the pans. Cover with additional sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, removing the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking.


If you want to freeze the second dish, let it come to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap and then foil. Let thaw completely in the refrigerator and bake as above.


Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 772mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4200IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 330mg | Iron: 8mg