Scrumptious Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells In Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

January 15, 2013

Sausage and spinach stuffed shells is a kid-friendly meal.  Onions are sauteed with sausage and garlic before being combined with spinach and ricotta cheese.  Each shell is filled to the brim with the mixture and topped with tomato basil cream sauce and plenty of fontina cheese.  If you don't have shells, this filling would also work for manicotti.   Sausage and spinach stuffed shells will please children and adults alike.

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells In Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

3/4 pound Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons minced garlic (approx 3 cloves)
12 cups oz fresh spinach, blanched, squeezed dry, and chopped (approx ⅔ chopped)
12 ounces package jumbo pasta shells
3 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

 
Directions:
 
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on med-high and saute onions till clear, then add sausage, salt-n-pep and crushed red pepper and 1 TBsp garlic. Cook till golden brown breaking up the pieces.
 
Remove from heat and transfer to large bowl to cool.
 
When mixture has cooled to room temp, stir in ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup parm and sugar. Combine well.
 
Lightly grease a deep 9×13 casserole or lasagna pan and set aside.
 
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta shells until just al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water then pat dry.
 
Stuff the pasta shells with the sausage-spinach mixture and place in prepared casserole dish.
 
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil on medium high and saute remaining onions until clear. Add remaining garlic and cook until fragrant approx 1-2 mins.
 
Add the crushed tomatoes, salt-n-pep, crushed red pepper (t.t.) and cook for 5 mins.
 
Add the heavy cream and cook until sauce is reduced by 1/3, about 20 mins.
 
 
Add the finely chopped basil to the sauce right before pouring the sauce over the shells in casserole.
 
Sprinkle with the fontina cheese and remaining Parm. Cover casserole tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 mins. Remove the foil and continue baking until the sauce is lightly browned in spots and bubbly around the edges. About 15 mins longer.
 
Let stand for 10 mins before serving. Goes great with thin sliced garlic bread.
 
Bon Appetito!

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