Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce
1 box jumbo shells
1 15oz. container of part skim ricotta cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp grated mozzarella
1 tbsp chopped parsley
For the sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (any variation works the same; chicken, turkey, pork)
14 oz (1/2 can) crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Bring large pot of water to which you've added 1 tsp of olive oil to boil
Add in enough shells to serve your family 4 shells=1 serving
Cook for 7-9 minutes (or until soft)
Drain shells and allow them to cool in a separate, large bowl. Set aside.
In a medium to large bowl combine the egg, cheeses, and parsley.
Cover with a paper towel and set aside.
In a large deep sauté pan, heat oil and add onions, garlic, and spinach and sauté on medium-low for about 3 to 4 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent.
Add sausage and cook, breaking meat into smaller pieces until cooked through.
When cooked, add the crushed tomatoes and salt/pepper for taste.
Add bay leaf and cover, reducing heat to low.
Simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
Once cooked through, set stove to the warm/simmer setting and let it sit.
Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with some of the prepared sauce.
Fill each shell with cheese mixture (about 1.5-2 tbsp.) and place atop the sauce in the baking dish.
Continue to stuff shells until cheese mixture is gone
Top the shells with remaining sauce
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, leaving a corner of the covering open to breathe.
Top with shredded parmesan cheese and serve.
Pairs Well With
We serve this dish with a small side salad, and a toasted wheat baguette with light butter spread. My children love to take about 1/3 of a cup of the remaining sauce and set it aside for bread-dipping purposes once the meal is served.