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I made this wonderful dish, thank you for it. I never have cooked anything with spinach before but it looked so good I decided it was time. I used fresh spinach and after washing it thoroughly I chopped it and then just folded it in with the stuffing. (Not cooked) and the dish was delicious. Why do you need to cook the spinach before using it in the recipe?
Hi, Don! Glad you enjoyed the recipe and it worked out. Typically, you want to cook the spinach to help release some of the moisture in the leaves.
I’ve made it SEVERAL times as is – ALWAYS a hit!…. then, 2 nights ago, I decided I didn’t want to take the time to stuff the shells, and bought radiatori pasta instead…. just mixed the pasta in with the stuffing mix (for some reason, I always end up buying more sausage, ricotta and spinach than I need – maybe it’s so I can have ready-to-go lunches in the freezer?)…. baked it in a 9×13 and an 11×15 (hey, use what you have!), and for the last 10 minutes, throw some Italian blend cheese on top (mozzarella and provolone, I think it was), and bake uncovered…. MUCH easier, and my boyfriend liked it even more! WIN!
If using fresh spinach, do you need to cook it first?
Hi, Lauren! Yes, you should cook the spinach first. Enjoy!
Looking forward to making this dish for my babies baptism but I need to make it egg free. What do I put in place when taking out the egg??
Hi, Teresa! I’d just leave out the egg in this recipe. It’s there to help the filling hold together a little better, but the recipe will be fine without it. Enjoy!
Add sliced black olives. Omit bread crumbs I use Publix hot turkey itailian. It’s very lean
My friends & family couldn’t get enough. I’ll be making more for Super Bowl. They’re shaped like footballs & the size is perfect to taste or to feast. We’d love leftovers, but aren’t counting on it. They’re lighter than recipes with mozzarella, so it’s easy to eat just one more.
Delicious. A family favorite. To cut the fat, I cook the sausage first in my cast iron skillet with no added oil, and remove it to a colander to drain the fat. Then I cook the onion in the olive oil for the 5 minutes, add back the meat to reheat before adding the garlic. The result is still flavorful, but healthier.
Soooo good!I have made this recipe more than a dozen times and it’s always a winner! I never change a thing. Just follow the recipe exactly as is and you will have a satisfying, tasty dinner that is sure to please everyone. It’s wonderful with a fresh salad and good bread. Leftovers heat up nicely, too. Thank you, Elyse!!!
Excellent recipe. The only things i did that deviated from the recipe were that I omitted the breadcrumbs and used a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses for the top of the shells. I used crushed italian seasoned tomatoes. They came out perfect. Will be making this one again. Thanks for the simple and delicious recipe!
Absolutely fantastic recipe!! Made this last night and my husband would not stop raving about how delicious it was. This was after I told him what I was making and he complained he did not want it. As always, great job. Thanks Elise!
This was amazing in a vegetarian version (without sausage, and with extra ricotta and spinach), with aldredo sauce and bruschetta instead of canned tomato sauce, and fresh salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Hot fresh salsa) on top after the shells come out of the oven for a cool fresh addition to the plate. A HUGE thank you to the commenter who suggested stuffing the shells by putting the Ricotta mixture into a plastic bag, cutting off the corner, and dispensing into the shells that way. Saved me a TON of time! My whole family loved this recipe! Thanks so much!
The Family loves it! My 4 year old actually ate it. I can say,..perfect way for her to eat spinach and not know it!! Love the idea of freezing, simple to pull out and put in oven when ready.
This was excellent with Mezzerta’s Vodka Marinara sauce in place of the canned tomatoes!
In my rush at the market, I purchased pre-cooked Italian sausage. I just cubed up the sausage, casings and all, and the dish was still delicious! I love that this recipe made enough for dinner last night, and another night’s dinner is in the freezer. This one’s a keeper! Thanks, Elise!
What other cheese can I use besides ricotta?
Any other cheeses? My family is not keen on cottage or ricotta cheeses – not any of the “creamy style” cheeses
Hi Sini, typically shells are stuffed with a soft cheese like cottage or ricotta. You might also try goat cheese, but you may have the same issue.
I made this last night with fresh spinach and my homemade marinara sauce. This makes such a large batch I was able to feed my boyfriend and I dinner, lunch and feed three co-workers lunch as well. Delicious recipe, I received many compliments!
Hi Elise, made this last night to use up a packet of frozen spinach. Skipped the breadcrumbs and included fennel seeds. Delicious. Thank you!
WOW thanks for a super guide line for a great giant stuffed shell meal!!! I am of course adjusting my recipe with what I have in my pantry and fridge but I KNOW this is going to turn out wonderful!!! I used organic sauce and roasted tomatoes and added baby Bella mushrooms for the topping sauce. I also didn’t have parmesan cheese so I used real mozzarella cheese for the topping cheese. Cut the bread crumbs because I didn’t have any and added pesto sauce to the ricotta cheese mixture…like I said I KNOW it’s going to be good…the smell is killing me!!! LOL Thanks again!
This recipe is great. The only change that I made was that after I cooked the sausage, I put it through a food processor to break it into smaller pieces. That way I could stuff the shells with the sausage instead of putting it on top. My in laws are making this recipe after only hearing about it from my husband. Guess he sold it pretty well! My husband requested hot sausage with the next batch :)
I made these for dinner and they were wonderful. My family raved about them. Thanks for another great recipe.