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Stuffed Shells with Sausage, Spinach, and Ricotta

(Serves 4)
A wonderful Italian pasta dish - Stuffed shells with Sausage, Spinach, and Ricotta
Stuffed shells with sausage, spinach, and ricotta cheese is a delicious and hearty dish that
can be made ahead of time for a week night family dinner, when you're expecting guests, or
for a holiday or special occasion buffet.  The sausage can easily be replaced with ground
beef or turkey if you prefer.  Serve the stuffed shells with a green salad and some crusty
Italian bread to round out this scrumptious Italian meal.
Ingredients:

16-18 jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound Italian sausage links, casings removed
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
2 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce, divided
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, finely chopped or shredded

Directions:

Cook the pasta shells in boiling salted water until al dente.
Drain the shells, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

To make the filling:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion; sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.  Add the sausage; use a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.  Cook the sausage for 5-6 minutes until it starts to brown.  Stir in the chopped spinach; continue cooking the mixture until the spinach is wilted.  Remove the skillet from the heat; set aside to cool for 10 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce and the ricotta cheese.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Use a spoon to fill the pasta shells with the sausage filling.  Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a (12-inch round or 9-inch square) baking dish.
Arrange the filled shells in one layer in the baking dish.  Top each of the shells with a teaspoon of tomato sauce and a portion of the mozzarella.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover; bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
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PASTA RECIPES  >  BAKED PASTA  >  STUFFED SHELLS WITH SAUSAGE
Stuffed Shells with Sausage, Spinach, and Ricotta
ENTERTAINING TIP
If you don't have a set of plain white dishes, put this at the top of your must-have entertaining essentials.  White dishes look sensational on the table by themselves or you can completely change their appearance on the table by pairing them with different accent plates, linens, and accessories.  In the summer, create a bright tabletop by combing your white dishes with blue and white salad plates and apple green table linens.  In the fall, pair your white dishes with russet napkins and an autumn centerpiece. In winter, make them more elegant with silver and gold accessories, or make them more whimsical by adding holiday stemware and napkins.  With white dishes and varied accessories, your table will never look the same for any occasion.
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Grates hard cheese, chocolate, and nuts