Sausage, Goat Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Shells with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

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Sausage, goat cheese & spinach stuffed shells are filled with ricotta and topped with creamy roasted red pepper sauce and mozzarella cheese.

A white square dish with 3 stuffed shells that are covered in a creamy red peppers sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.

Caution: these are not your average Italian stuffed shells!

Rather, they’re a classy and delicious twist on the traditional recipe.

These easy stuffed shells with Italian sausage, spinach, goat cheese and ricotta are finished with a flavorful, creamy roasted red pepper sauce.   They’re a cheesy and delicious family dinner recipe!

Stuffed shells are an Italian staple when you don’t want to go through the work of making lasagna, but want something other than plain old macaroni and meatballs.

a baking dish on the left with unbaked stuffed shells with sausage and spinach. A baking dish on the right with the finished baked shells covered in sauce and cheese.

These cheesy stuffed shells are incredibly easy to make and easily feed a crowd.  They can be made ahead and frozen for family dinner.

Should I cook stuffed shells before freezing?

Stuffed shells are best frozen unbaked. Follow recipe instructions up until baking, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze up to 3 months. To bake, remove from freezer, remove plastic and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes.

How long can you keep cooked stuffed shells in the refrigerator?

About 3-5 days as long as they are covered in airtight container or wrapped well with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

A glass baking dish filled with stuffed shells with a serving spoon scooping out a shell. They’re filled with sausage, spinach and goat cheese and topped with a creamy red pepper sauce and mozzarella cheese

To make these sausage and spinach stuffed shells; simply cook the shells according to the package directions until al dente.  Once drained, I like to add olive oil and coat the shells to avoid sticking.

While the shells are cooking, start on your creamy roasted red pepper sauce.  The recipe is adapted from Damn Delicious, original recipe here.  It’s full of flavor, creamy and easy to make!

The roasted red peppers really work well with the tangy goat cheese and rich sausage.

I use a hand blender to puree the sauce until smooth; however, if you don’t have one of these a blender will work just as well.

For the stuffed shell filling recipe there is no egg; I use ground Italian sausage, ricotta, spinach and goat cheese.

While the sauce is simmering, to make the filling, simply cook the sausage until browned, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Then add in the spinach and cook until wilted.

Mix the cheeses into the sausage mixture and begin stuffing your shells.  Pour the creamy roasted red pepper sauce over the stuffed shells and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake and enjoy!

3 stuffed shells on a white plate covered in melted mozzarella cheese and filled with ricotta, sausage, spinach and goat cheese. They’re topped with a roasted red pepper cream sauce.

If you want to switch it up, try this tasty and easy stuffed shell recipe.  The flavors combine beautifully for a delicious take on the original Italian stuffed shell recipe.

For more easy Sunday Family Dinner Recipes try:

Homemade Chicken and Noodles
Slow Cooker Spinach Stuffed Italian Pork Tenderloin
Crockpot French Onion Beef Stroganoff

A white square dish with 3 stuffed shells that are covered in a creamy red peppers sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.
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5 from 1 vote

Sausage, Goat Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Shells with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

Sausage, Goat Cheese & spinach stuffed shells are filled with ricotta and topped with creamy roasted red pepper sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword comfortfood, familydinner, italianrecipes, stuffedshells, sundaydinner
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6
Author Wine a Little Cook A Lot

Ingredients

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • ½ cup Chicken Stock low sodium preferred
  • 1 24 oz jar Roasted Red Peppers drained
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • 1 cup Half & Half or Milk
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese Grated

Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • 1 12 oz box Jumbo Shells
  • 1 lb Ground Italian Sausage sweet or mild
  • 1 8 oz bag Fresh Spinach
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 4 oz Goat Cheese crumbled
  • Pinch Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in medium saucepan. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add flour and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, chicken stock, roasted red peppers, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook 3-4 minutes.
  • Slowly add in half & half, stir to combine. Cook until liquid starts to bubble, lower heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese.
  • Using a hand blender or immersion blender (regular blender would work too), puree sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add shells and cook according to package directions (until al dente), drain and set aside. Add some olive oil to the shells and mix to prevent sticking.
  • Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, using spoon to crumble the sausage into small pieces. Once sausage is cooked through and browned, add spinach and stir to combine. Cook 3-4 minutes until wilted.
  • Transfer sausage and spinach mixture to a large bowl. Add basil, ricotta, goat cheese and pepper. Season with salt if needed. Mix until well combined.
  • To assemble shells: place about a cup of red pepper sauce in the bottom of a 13” x 9” baking dish, spread evenly.
  • Fill each shell with about 1-2 tbsp of filling, and place in baking dish. Repeat until you have no filling left.
  • Cover shells with sauce; you may have extra sauce left over.
  • Sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Notes

*Shells can be frozen unbaked for up to 3 months. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing. *Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce was adapted from Damn Delicious, click here for original recipe


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