Stuffed Pasta Shells with Sausage, Cheese and Basil

I’ve been really into baked pastas lately. Besides my standby mac & cheese recipe, I’ve been experimenting with tossing pasta in the oven with all kinds of different meats, veggies and sauces, and the results are always tasty. Yesterday I was wondering aloud what to make for dinner and a friend suggested stuffed shells.  Here’s what I came up with.

Stuffed shells ingredients

Ingredients

1 package of giant pasta shells

2 sweet Italian sausages

1 tub of ricotta (475g)

1.5 cups shredded Asiago

1 can diced tomatoes

1 leek

1 egg

1 garlic clove, minced

2-3 stalks of basil leaves, chiffonade

Salt

Pepper

First, get a pot of salted water boiling for the shells. Boil the shells for 1 or 2 minutes less than recommended on the package, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Sausage cooking

Put a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Remove sausage from the casings, crumble (as well as you can crumble raw pork), and add to the pan once it is hot. Use a spoon/spatula to break apart the sausage more as it cooks.

Leeks

Chop the leek into thin slices, and mince the garlic.

Sausage and leeks

Once the sausage is almost cooked through (there should be very little pink meat left), add the leeks to the pan. Stir around some and break apart the layers.

Sausage, garlic and leeks

Once the leeks are soft and translucent, add the garlic, along with some salt and pepper. After 2-3 minutes, remove half the contents of the pan and set aside.

Tomato sauce and sausage

Add the diced tomatoes to the remaining sausage, reduce heat to low and simmer.

Ricotta stuffing mixture

Add the egg to a mixing bowl and lightly beat. Add in the ricotta, half the Asiago, salt, pepper and mix together.

Ricotta and sausage mixture

Also add the sausage that you set aside and mix again.

Sauce in baking pan

Add about half of the tomato sauce to your baking pan and distribute so that the entire bottom surface is covered. Leave the rest simmering in the pan until you need it.

Also, if anyone has tips to help my glass cookware not look like this, please share! I love the cooking part, but cleaning sucks.

Stuffing the shells

Add a spoonful of the ricotta mixture to each pasta shell and place, open side up, in the baking dish.

Shells in the tray

Yummy shells all in a row.

Stuffed shells ready to bake

Add the remaining tomato sauce over the shells.

Cover in foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Stuffed shells with cheese

After 30 minutes, remove from oven and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Stuffed shells, out of the oven

Done! It doesn’t need to cool for very long before serving.

Stuffed shells with sausage, asiago and basil

I saved the tiny basil leaves to use as a garnish.

Serve and enjoy!

Stuffed Pasta Shells with Sausage, Cheese and Basil
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Baked pasta shells stuffed with creamy ricotta, asiago, sausage and fresh basil.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 package giant pasta shells
  • 2 sweet Italian sausages
  • 1 tub ricotta (475g)
  • 1.5 cups shredded asiago
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2-3 stalks of basil leaves, chiffonade
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes less than recommended on the
    package, drain and set aside
  2. Remove sausage from casing, crumble and fry over medium heat
  3. Add chopped leeks to cooked sausage, cook until soft
  4. Add minced garlic, salt and pepper
  5. After 2-3 minutes, remove half the mixture and set aside to use in stuffing
  6. Add diced tomatoes to the pan and simmer
Stuffing
  1. Add egg to a mixing bowl and beat
  2. Add ricotta, half the asiago, basil, salt, pepper and the sausage. Mix together.
Assembly
  1. Add enough of the tomato sauce to cover the bottom of a rectangular baking dish
  2. Add a spoonful of the stuffing mixture to each shell
  3. Add the stuffed shells, open side up, to the baking dish
  4. Cover with remaining tomato sauce
  5. Bake, covered in foil, at 350° for 30 minutes
  6. Add the rest of the shredded cheese on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes

 

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