The filling for these easy stuffed shells holds up well. These double as dinner or finger food. The sausage you choose is up to you. Chicken or turkey sausage instead of pork sausage would be great. If you do choose a sausage that’s lower in fat, add a little oil to the pan before browning. When making stuffed shells, add a few more dried pasta shells to the water than you will need since some will rip. The filling for this recipe should fill about 16 shells.
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).