Italian Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells with Creamy Marinara

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Italian Stuffed Shell Pasta is so easy and delicious.

Italian Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells with Creamy Marinara Recipe 

Well, here’s your brand new crowd pleaser.  When you set a pan full of this delicious, cheesy pasta into the center of the dinner table for your family or guests, you will see their eyes glass over in anticipation. Get ready to share this recipe for Italian Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells with Marinara – you shall have lots of requests!

Serve yourself some Italian Stuffed Shell Pasta with Creamy Marinara.

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Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We? 🙂

You can probably already tell from the recipes here on my blog that we are huge pasta fans.  Is there anything more rich and comforting? I think not!

If it’s the same way at your house, I hope you’ll give some of my other pasta recipes a try – such as Instant Pot 5-Minute Pepperoni Pizza Pasta or Instant Pot Fiesta Beef and Spaghetti.

If you’re visiting here during the hot months of summer, you may like to indulge in a few pasta salads, too….such as BLT Pasta Salad….Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Steak, or even Chipotle Pasta Salad with Shredded Chicken and Smoked Gouda.

Things to Love About This Recipe –

  • It’s very family friendly….pure comfort food.
  • It makes a wonderful meal for a new baby arrival, a potluck dinner, or just a friend in need.
  • It’s a fun hands-on recipe.  Get the kids involved with the shell stuffing part – they will love it!

How to Make Italian Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Creamy Marinara Sauce in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Cook the jumbo pasta shells as directed on the package; drain and reserve; keep warm.
  2. Make the creamy marinara sauce by browning the sausage with the with the onion until the sausage is fully cooked and the onions are tender; stir in the wine to de-glaze the pan, then add the whipping cream, tomatoes and basil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, make the ricotta filling by combining the ricotta, cottage cheese, spinach, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, eggs, and crumbled bread in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Stuff each cooked pasta shell with the prepared ricotta filling, placing them into a greased 9×13 pan or a greased 12-inch cast iron skillet.
  5. Pour the reserved creamy marinara sauce over the top of the stuffed shells, then sprinkle the sauce with mozzarella.  Cover, bake, serve, eat!

Stuffed Pasta Shells ready for the oven and already baked - all bubbly and hot.

Easy Recipe Tips for Making Stuffed Pasta Shells 

  • Don’t overcook the pasta shells or they will fall apart as you are trying to stuff them.  It’s better for them to be a bit under cooked since they will continue to cook in the sauce as they bake.
  • If you prefer, you can leave the cream out of the sauce to have straight-up marinara sauce instead.  Still delicious.
  • I recommend using fresh basil in this recipe if you can.  It really makes a difference in this dish!
  • If you can’t find ground Italian sausage, you can always buy Italian sausage links, cutting open the casing to let the sausage out and into your skillet. Sometimes I have trouble finding ground Italian sausage, for whatever reason.

Other Family Favorite Recipes to Enjoy –

Loaded BBQ Pulled Pork Sweet Potatoes 

Twisted Mexican Hot Tot Skillet 

Beef and Cheese Mexican Sanchiladas 

Instant Pot Cuban Pork Tenderloin with Black Beans and Rice 

Sausage, Apple, and Rosemary Sheet Pan Meal 

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders 

Instant Pot Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions and BBQ Mayo 

Printable Directions for Making This Stuffed Shell Pasta with Italian Sausage and Ricotta

Italian Stuffed Shell Pasta is so easy and delicious.

Italian Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells with Creamy Marinara

Well, here's your brand new crowd pleaser.  When you set a skillet or pan full of this delicious, cheesy pasta into the center of the dinner table for your family or guests, you will see their eyes glass over in anticipation. Get ready to share the recipe - you shall have lots of requests! 
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 440kcal
Author: Chef Alli

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Italian pork or beef sausage
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced, may substitute 1 Tbs. dehydrated onion, if desired
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 2-3 Tbs. freshly chopped basil, may substitute 1 tsp. dried basil, if desired
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16-18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked until tender according to package directions (I cook mine in my Instant Pot for 1 minute under high pressure)
  • 16 oz small curd cottage cheese
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, chopped, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crumbled finely with your fingers or in the food processor
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, for topping to serve

Instructions

Make the Creamy Marinara Sauce

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the Italian sausage with the onions until no pink remains and the onions are translucent; de-glaze the skillet with the red wine, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet into the sausage.
    Stir in the tomatoes with juice, whipping cream, and the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set the sauce aside and keep warm.

Make the Ricotta Filling

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese with the ricotta, spinach, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, eggs and crumbled bread. Place approx. 2 Tbs of this mixture into each cooked jumbo pasta shell, then place shells into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish or a 12-inch cast iron skillet. (Love this dish served in a cast iron skillet - it looks super rustic!)

Stuff the Shells and Bake the Pasta

  • When all pasta shells are filled and placed into the baking dish or skillet, pour the prepared creamy marinara sauce over the shells; sprinkle mozzarella over the sauce and cover with foil.
    Bake the pasta, covered, for 30-35 minutes; remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until the pasta and sauce are hot and bubbly throughout (160 degrees F. at the center). Let the pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving. Magnifico!

Notes

 
  • Don't overcook the pasta shells or they will fall apart as you are trying to stuff them.  It's better for them to be a bit under cooked since they will continue to cook in the sauce as they bake.
  • If you prefer, you can leave the cream out of the sauce to have straight-up marinara sauce instead.  Still delicious.
  • I recommend using fresh basil in this recipe if you can.  It really makes a difference in this dish!
  • If you can't find ground Italian sausage, you can always buy Italian sausage links, cutting open the casing to let the sausage out and into your skillet. Sometimes I have trouble finding ground Italian sausage, for whatever reason.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Ssusage Stuffed Pasta Shells with Ricotta, Italian Stuffed Shells with Meat and Ricotta Cheese, Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Cottage Cheese, Stuffed Shells with Sausage and Spinach

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 1065mg | Potassium: 475mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 739IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 294mg | Iron: 2mg

Thanks for visiting! I hope you return soon for more yummy recipes for your family.

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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