This recipe I kind of made up, and I pretty much change it every time I make it, but the base recipe remains the same. I made a frozen version that I took to my Pap, along with some other frozen meals to help him get through the passing of his wife. And this week I made it for my cousin who just had her first baby. Since I was in her shoes less than a year ago, I know how appreciated a meal is in those first few weeks after bringing home a new baby.
I didn't take as many pictures as I would've liked, as I was distracted by my almost 1 year old, but here goes:
Brown some sausage in a pan. You can use any kind. Sometimes I use italian sausage that I remove from the casings, and sometimes I just use plain ole sausage in a roll. When I use that, I add a little garlic powder and italian seasoning.
Drain off the fat and set aside in a large bowl.
Then dice up an onion, I usually only use about 1/2 of a large onion. Throw it in the pan with a little garlic, maybe a clove of minced garlic and stir until they start to soften. Then take some fresh baby spinach and add it a handful at a time.
Pour in a little water, and continue cooking it down and adding in more spinach until you've used a whole bag.
It always amazes me how much spinach cooks down. You have this whole big bag, and it cooks down to so little. Cook until the water is pretty much cooked out, and throw in the bowl with the sausage.
Meanwhile, boil some pasta shells, boil just under the amount of cooking time. You want them to be al dente so that when you bake them they still have a little bite.
I forgot to take pictures of the next couple of steps, so I'll just quickly explain.
Throw in a small container of ricotta cheese with the sausage and spinach. Mix well and stuff into cooked shells.
Arrange them in baking pan, or in this case a container. I got these really neat foil containers at the $ Tree that work really well for taking food to other people in. They came with lids and everything.
Next, add your sauce and you can sprinkle on cheese if you'd like. This is fresh parmesan, but you could do mozzarella or whatever you prefer. Like I said, I change up this recipe all of the time.
When I made this recipe for my Pap, I froze the shells without the sauce, and then just provided him with some sauce to pour over it once he thawed it to cook.
For my cousin, I went ahead and poured the sauce on, and added the cheese.
At this point you bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes or until warmed through.
But, if you're taking it to someone else, cover with saran wrap and put on the lid.
Aren't those pans great? You get like 3 of them for a dollar! My cousin said these fed her for 2 nights (This recipe made 2 of these pans full, with a couple of shells left over) and she said they were really delicious. I also took her some fresh garlic bread from the store.
This recipe is really good with garlic bread and salad. Or all by itself! And, it's really good to take some to other people, because it's a little labor intensive. Cooking for someone is a good way to show that you care!
I would also like to add, you can just use frozen spinach and thaw it first. I do that when I don't have as much time, and it still tastes good.
Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 1 box pasta shells
- 1 bag baby spinach
- 1/2 an onion
- 1 lb sausage
- 1 small container ricotta
- preferred pasta sauce
- seasonings to taste.
2.) Meanwhile, cook sausage until no longer pink, adding desired amount of seasonings. Drain and set aside in large bowl.
3.) Dice up 1/2 an onion and throw in hot pan with minced garlic. Cook until softened.
4.) Add in baby spinach with a small amount of water, cooking down a handful at a time. Cook down until the water is pretty much gone.
5.) Toss spinach in large bowl with sausage and small container ricotta cheese.
6.) Stuff into prepared shells.
7.) Arrange in pan, cover with sauce and cheese.
8.) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until completely warmed through.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I'll try to keep up with my blog now that things are starting to settle down. I'll have some posts with Baby B's birthday party stuff in mind soon!