Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells from FIA
As seen on Annie’s Eats, who adapted it from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
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
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. 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

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta shells according to package directions. After draining, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until soft, about 5 minutes, then add the sausage to the pan. Break the sausage into smaller pieces with your spoon while it cooks to done, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the egg, ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, basil, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Add the sausage mixture to the bowl and stir until evenly distributed.

Preheat oven to 375. Using three 8×8″ pans or one 9×13″ and one 8×8″ (this recipe makes a lot!), stuff each shell with some of the sausage and cheese mix and arrange in the dishes, open side up. Top with diced tomatoes.

Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top. Bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

Note: This dish freezes really well! Assemble to just before baking, wrap tightly with foil and/or plastic wrap, and store. Allow to thaw in the ‘fridge before baking and add an additional 5 minutes to the initial bake time.

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