Monday, April 4, 2011

Stuffed Shells with Italian sauage

A cheesy blend of cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs and spinach is stuffed into jumbo shells of pasta topped with Italian sausage and spaghetti sauce then baked. Cooking the Sausage in the crock pot might seem like an extra step but it's worth it as it flavors the sauce and the sausage is really tender.

Here are the ingredients: Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, spinach and large pasta shells.

Yields: 8 servings

2 (26 oz) cans spaghetti sauce ( I like to use Hunts Traditional Spaghetti sauce)
1 pkg. (19.76 oz) Johnsonville Mild or Sweet Italian Sausage links

1 (12 oz) pkg. jumbo pasta shells
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach (making sure to squeeze all the water out, using a clean kitchen towel does the job well)

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil and add sausage, cook 5-8 minutes to partially cook sausage. Drain. Sausage will be undercooked but will finish cooking in crock pot.
2. Slice sausage into bite size pieces.
3. Place in crock pot with 2 cans of sauce. (I was making a double batch in these pictures)

4. Cook on low about 3-4 hours.  (You also can cook sauce (large pot) on the stove top and cook sausage on low for about 3 hours)

1. Cook shells according to package directions (making sure you salt the water). Drain. Lay shells, single layer on a piece of wax paper.
2. Mix together cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs and spinach. Stuff mixture into the shells.
3. Spread thin layer of sauce of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Spread remaining sauce and Italian sausage over top. (At this point you can refrigerate until ready to bake. )
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly. If Shells have been refrigerated bake and additional 15 minutes. Serve with extra (fresh) Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.
Yields: 8 servings

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