Monday, May 28, 2012

3-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage Sauce

These were awesome! It was my first time making stuffed shells, and it wasn't difficult at all with a little advanced planning. I boiled the shells, made the filling, and browned the Italian sausage in the morning and refrigerated them all day. Then I started to assemble everything about an hour before I wanted to eat.  Plus, using a gallon-size ziploc to mix the filling together made stuffing the shells and cleaning up a breeze!

One box of jumbo shells makes enough to feed an army; serioulsy, one box gave us 32 stuffed shells. We froze half of them and ate the other half all week long. 

These are also great because you can change up the filling.  Biz doesn't consider anything a meal if it doesn't contain meat, so that's why I added Italian sausage to the sauce.  However, I'd also add shredded chicken to the filling, and I think that would be awesome, too.  Try these; they're really good!

3-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage Sauce

1 (12 oz) box jumbo pasta shells
1 (32 oz) container ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 (28 oz) jars pasta sauce
1 lb mild Italian sausage

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. 

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage over medium heat until no longer pink.  Remove the crumbled sausage from the pan, and drain on paper towels.  When cooled, combine with the jars of the pasta sauce in a medium bowl.

In a gallon-size ziploc bag, mix ricotta, half the mozzarella, the Parmesan cheese, and the Italian seasoning until well combined.  When ready to assemble, snip off a corner of the bag, and pipe the filling into the shells.  Place stuffed shells into two 9"x13" baking dishes, and top with pasta sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.  (You can freeze the shells at this point.) 

Bake in oven preheated to 350.  Cover dish with foil for 35 minutes, and uncover for 10 more minutes. 

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