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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.

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


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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Stuffed Shells with Sausage, Spinach, and Ricotta
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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