Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Turkey Sausage and Herb Stuffed Shells

Growing up, my family had a rule that on your birthday, you got to choose your favorite dinner for my mom to make. Without fail, every year, I chose stuffed shells. No question, this was my absolutely favorite meal. Back in those days, however, I was a vegetarian (another story, another post) so mine were always made sans meat. Actually, I never even asked my mom for her recipe, but stuffed shells are stuffed shells, right? I've just taken a basic recipe and vamped it up by adding lots of fresh herbs, spinach, and turkey sausage. I served this alongside a spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, and crispy proscuitto and roasted garlic garlic bread.

Turkey Sausage and Herb Stuffed Shells

For the filling
  • 1 lb turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 1 15-oz container part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 Tbsp each fresh rosemary, oregano, basil, and parsley (you could really use any herbs, this is just waht I grow in my garden)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Brown the sausage in a large skillet, breaking into small pieces. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients. Add cooked sausage to the cheese mixture, and set aside.

For the sauce

Of course you can always use a jar of marinara, but I just like making my own. Plus, I have leftover to freeze for another use.

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped mixed herbs (fresh or 1-2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Using the same skillet as the sausage, add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove pan from heat and add wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining ingrendients and stir to combine. Allow to simmer 15-20 minutes.
  • For the shells
  • 1/2 box jumbo shells
  • 1 cup shredded mozarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
Cook shells in boiling water, 7-9 minutes. Do not let them cook all the way, as they will complete cooking in the oven. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish or 2 8x8 square baking dishes. Stuff each shell with a few tablespoons of the sausage, herb, and cheese filling, and place them in baking dish. Spoon spaghetti sauce over the shells, and top with cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes.


Rebecca said...

I just love your blog! I wrote down the ingredients for this recipe & now I'm off to the grocery store... I'll let you know how it turns out! Looks delicious!

Rebecca said...

Seriously, this was such a great recipe! I just posted it on my blog (giving you credit, of course!!) Thanks! :)

Josie said...

Rebecca, I'm so glad you enjoyed them!!!

Jackie said...


What kind of fresh herbs did you use in the tomato sauce.

Josie said...

Hi Jackie,
I think I used a mixture of basil, oregano, and parsley, because that's what I grew last summer. Any combination of those, plus thyme or rosemary would work as well. Or you can just use dried italian seasoning. Hope that helps!

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