Pasta shells stuffed with great tasting sausage and gobs of mozzarella cheese. This meal is a family pleaser!
Italian Sausage Stuffing Is A Change Of Pace
I have always loved the flavor of Italian sausage so I thought it would work well as a filling.
These were made with sweet sausage, but hot sausage would be very good too.
Sausage Filling Requires Less Prep
Because Italian sausage is so flavorful by itself, it requires less preparation time to make.
That means less “add-ins” to the basic meat mixture, and I kept my add-ins simple.
Soft Bread Crumbs
My meat-stuffed shells use soaked bread. With the sausage filling, I used plain soft breadcrumbs.
Since sausage is wetter than ground beef, I felt the soaked bread would make the filling too watery. Also since sausage is way fattier than the lean ground beef I use in my meat-filled shells, I wanted something that would absorb a lot of that fat. Day-old bread made into crumbs serves that purpose nicely.
Soft bread crumbs are easy to make too, and I usually do a few cups and store them in the fridge for future use. I use my little Kitchenaid mini chopper to make them–just a couple of pulses will turn the torn slices of bread into fine crumbs. If you want to make a bigger batch all at one time, a bigger food processor is the way to go.
Amounts May Vary
I used one pound of bulk sausage meat and about one cup of diced cheese which yielded 8 over-stuffed shells. I would say there was at least 1/3 cup of sausage mixture in each shell. If you want to stretch the filling a bit, use less. What I do is portion out the filling then cook the appropriate amount of shells–with a couple of extra just in case some break or tear upon filling.
And because this question has come up a few times–the meat is raw when it’s stuffed into the pasta. It cooks fully in the oven.
- 1 lb sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage meat
- 6-8 oz (about a cup) diced (small dice) mozzarella
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley --OR- 2 tbs dry from the jar parsely
- 1¼ cup soft bread crumbs
- 2 tbs grated Parmesan -OR- Romano cheese
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 eggs
- 8-12 jumbo shells, cooked al dente
- 1 recipe Quick Chunky Tomato Sauce -OR- your favorite pasta sauce
- Extra shredded mozzarella
- Mix well the sausage meat, mozzarella, parsley, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic and eggs in a medium bowl. Portion out the meat in desired amount.
- Cook the same amount of shells as meat portions. Slightly undercook the shells because they will be baked too.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place about ½ cup of the sauce in a baking dish large enough to hold the amount of shells you made--this would be anywhere from a 1½-2½ quart baking dish.
- Put the shells in the pan and top with more sauce and desired amount of shredded mozzarella.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake 45-60 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through.
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