The other day I was really in the mood to make dinner for my family (the same night I made bruschetta) and had been dying to try out this recipe. I really liked how the pasta turned out and was happy that we had plenty of leftovers the next day. Next time I try this recipe I might try using regular pasta sauce instead of chopped tomatoes just to see if I like that better. I’m not much of a chunky tomato kind of girl. Overall, great dinner.
1 12-oz. package jumbo pasta shells
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lb. italian sausage, casings removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
10-oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained OR 6-7 oz. fresh spinach (use fresh spinach if you have it, but I used frozen)
1 cup freshly graded Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dired basil (I used dried basil)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid
Add salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cook the shells according to the package. Drain the shells, rinse with water (so they don’t stick together) and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft (Mine took about 5-7 minutes). Add the sausage to the pan, gradually breaking it apart into smaller pieces while it cooks. Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until the there is a pronounced fragrance from the garlic (My mom doesn’t like garlic so I took the garlic pieces out after 20 seconds, but you can leave them in the mixture).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, basil, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Stir together until they are all combined. Add the sausage mixture and stir together.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread a thin layer of the tomatoes in a baking dish (I had enough shells and mixture for one 8×8 pan and one 9×13 pan). Stuff each shell with some of the sausage mixture and then arrange the shells in the pan so that the open side of each shell is facing up. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the shells.
Cover the pans with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and top the pasta with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Source: Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats