Sausage Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells is a hearty baked pasta dish. The creamy ricotta filling pairs so well with the bold marinara sauce for an elegant dish that is easy enough for a weeknight dinner, and perfect for entertaining
When I was growing up I was that kid…my food couldn’t touch. And if it did, I wouldn’t eat the part that was touching. At family gatherings, my mom made my plate so I would actually eat. The funny thing is, I’ve always loved lasagnas, casseroles, and other foods that are cooked together. I’ve come a long way since then, but I do still plate my food separately. Old habits die hard.
When it comes to Italian style cooking I’m still way behind the 8-ball in terms of creating recipes for the blog. And I don’t know why, because there’s not much of it that I won’t eat. A few months ago I finally dove in with delicious and easy Spinach Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups. And then in December I took a private cooking course through The Chef & The Dish and created Poached Pears with Parmigiano Reggiano and Ricotta, and Traditional Bruschetta.
My parents were in town over Christmas and, since Sanata brought me a small dutch oven, I was all on board to make every recipe I could think of. I started with Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce that we ate it in no time flat, and now I always make sure to have at least one jar stored in the fridge. Of course, now I must have recipes to use the sauce, so my first creation is Sausage Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells
Wow, this Sausage Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells is fabulous. The ricotta filling is light yet extremely flavorful, and the marinara sauce adds a bold bite. It’s an easy recipe to make that works well as a weeknight dinner or dish for entertaining.
INGREDIENTS FOR SAUSAGE SPINACH ARTICHOKE STUFFED SHELLS
- Jumbo Shells
- Italian Sausage
- Fresh baby spinach
- Fresh onion, garlic
- Ricotta cheese – I use whole milk ricotta, but you could substitute part skim
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Seasonings: Dried Oregano, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
- Marinara sauce – I use my Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
KEYS TO THE PERFECT SAUSAGE SPINACH ARTICHOKE STUFFED SHELLS
As I mentioned earlier, Sausage Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells is very easy to make
- Cook the shells in boiling, salted water for about 9 minutes. They will be al dente, and finish cooking in the oven
- Brown the Italian sausage until just cooked through. I use Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage because I always have it in the freezer. Mild sausage would work as well.
- Cook the onion, garlic and baby spinach in the same skillet you used for the sausage
- Use fresh-grated cheese! It really makes a big difference in flavor, especially the Parmesan
- I don’t use nearly as much ricotta as other recipes. Instead, I add chopped marinated artichoke hearts, for another layer of wonderful flavor. Combine the ricotta mixture well, so everything is evenly distributed
Just a couple more steps to a beautiful dish!
- Pour marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish
- Fill pasta shells with ricotta mixture, and place face-up in the dish
- Top with Parmesan, and finish with Italian sausage
- Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes; remove, sprinkle with a little more cheese, and finish baking for 5 minutes
- Rest for about 5 minutes. Garnish with a little fresh basil just before serving
The great thing about Sausage Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells is that it’s a complete meal on its own. I’ll usually serve it with a side salad, just to add some extra green to my plate. It’s hard to say how many this serves, because it all depends on how hungry you are. With a side salad, a normal serving for me would be 3 shells. But on its own, I could definitely eat 5. I can’t wait to make Sausage Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells for my friends.
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 20 jumbo pasta shells
- 8 ounces hot Italian sausage (I use Johnsonville brand)
- 4 cups baby spinach, rinsed, stems removed
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta (you could also substitute part skim)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 16 ounces marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook shells for about 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add Italian sausage and cook until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside. Wipe about 1/2 the oil out of the skillet
- Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove spinach mixture and set aside. Cool for 3-5 minutes, and chop well.
- In a large bowl, add ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, Mozzarella, artichoke hearts, spinach mixture, oregano, black pepper, pepper flakes, garlic powder, and eggs. Mix well to combine
Pour Marinara Sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Fill shells with ricotta mixture, and place face-up on top of marinara sauce. Top with remaining Parmesan, and finish with crumbled Italian sausage.
- Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving