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Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Shells

I like to make this meal for special occasions, and everyone who has tried these stuffed shells has left satisfied. I suggest making a double batch and freezing one for future dinners. —Tiffany Carlson, Colfax, North Dakota
  • Total Time
    Prep: 55 min. Bake: 45 min.
  • Makes
    10 servings

Ingredients

  • 30 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • SAUCE:
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 4 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta shells according to package directions for al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up sausage into crumbles; drain and return to pan. Add cream cheese; cook and stir until melted.
  • Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Stir in spinach and egg. Add 1 cup mozzarella, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; mix well. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Spread 1-1/3 cups sauce onto bottom of a greased 13x9-in. baking dish and 2/3 cup sauce over the bottom of a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Fill pasta shells with sausage mixture; arrange over sauce. Top with remaining sauce.
  • Bake, covered, 45 minutes or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

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