Jumbo Shells Stuffed With Italian Sausage

I am not much of a red sauce fan, so I tend to steer clear of lasagnas and things of that nature. I ran across a similar recipe to this a while back and decided to try and make it my own.





Pasta Filling

1 12oz box jumbo pasta shells
1 pound spicy Italian Sausage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup Spinach, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano 


In a big enough pot, boil water with a few dashes of salt, add shells and cook per package instructions. When done, place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, you dont want mushy noodles. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO until glassy, add sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. The best trick I ever discovered to helping break up the meat, use a potato masher! After the meat has cooked until somewhat brown, use the potato masher to break up the pieces smaller – it works so well!

Add garlic and cook for about 2min, then add the spinach and chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat, stirring every so often to help wilt the spinach.




Once the spinach is wilted, you can turn the heat off and remove skillet from the stove. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano and stir well so that everything is incorporated. 

Pre-heat your oven to 350°

Prepare yourself to be patient. Filling these little buggers is a little time consuming, and annoying as they dont all open up very easily.
Open each shell gently, they’ll be slippery and annoying, but once you get in a groove it’ll get easier. Using a soup spoon, spoon in the filling and arrange in round pie pan or shallow casserole dish. Putting them in the pan with the “end” of the shell “up” will make so they dont fall over and get everywhere.

Once they’re all in the pan, cover with cheese and bake for 30min!



Veggie Rotini with a Spicy Italian Sausage Bolognese

The hubs was coming home really late last night and requested one of his favorite dishes of mine, spaghetti. I am not much into red sauce, I usually prefer béchamel (Alfred/white sauce) or white wine sauces. But sometimes, I really do like a hearty meat sauce. I prefer shorter noodles also; bow tie, rotini, elbow, egg…

I stopped by the store and picked up some spicy italian sausage. You can get it in or out of the casing, it really doesn’t matter, other than the fact that you’ll want to take it out of the casing before cooking it. If you’re up for dealing with that, you can. If you don’t like spicy, you can use whatever kind of ground meat you like. I prefer spicy sausage because it adds so much more flavor to the sauce as it cooks for hours and hours 🙂



1 Box of Veggie Rotini Pasta (the curly kind)

Sausage Bolognese

2lb Spicy Italian Sausage (or whatever meat you want)
1-2 bottle(s) store bought spaghetti sauce
5 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion diced
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 pinch dried thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste

In a deep sauce pan heat about 2 tablespoons of oil on med-hi until it becomes glassy. Add diced onion to the pan and stir until all of the onion is covered. Let that cook for about 2min then add garlic.

I prefer to start my onion and garlic before the meat, so the flavors have room to open up. You can start your meat first if thats what you prefer.


After about a minute, start to add the sausage, pulling it into pieces as you add it to the pan. Raw sausage doesn’t break up as easily as ground beef/turkey/chicken do, but it will be easy to break up once it starts cooking. Add all of the meat, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and turn the heat down to medium. Let the meat cook until its brown, about 10min – stirring every so often, making sure to break up the bigger chunks of meat with your spoon. After the meat is brown, let it sit still for about 2min so you can skim the oil from the sausage off of the top.


Add tomato paste, dried spices, and mix until meat is coated well. Add one jar of store bought spaghetti sauce, whatever kind you like, and mix well. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for about 3 hours. The reason I suggest buying more than one jar of sauce is, the longer you cook this the less moisture there will be. So if the sauce gets to be more like a ragout than you want, add more spaghetti sauce. Or, you could even use a can of crushed tomatoes.

After this is all cooked down, I make the pasta and usually some garlic bread. Slather the inside of a french baguette with butter and a garlic/herb blend, pop that sucker into the oven (lower middle rack) under a high broiler for 5min and you’re set!

One box of that veggie pasta serves about 4 people, and you will definitely have leftovers from the sauce. Freeze it if you don’t plan on eating it within the next week or so.







Remember, cool all leftovers to room temp before freezing or refrigerating. Dont want to grow any bacteria!