Apparently I’ve been at it again. Experimenting. Creating. Trying to work a little bit of my culinary mojo in the kitchen. Actually, calling this ‘creating’ is a bit of a stretch; it’s more of a modification on a familiar theme. I love working with jumbo pasta shells. You can fill them with so many wonderful and varied ingredients.
That brings me to this week’s Meatless Monday recipe. I call it Vegetarian Sausage Stuffed Shells, even though its stuffed with more than mere vegetarian sausage. Once again, I’ve turned to my new favorite, Field Roast’s Italian vegetarian sausage. I can’t heap enough praise on these sausages. Filled with eggplant, fennel, garlic, red wine and sweet red peppers, is it no wonder I’ve fallen in lust with these little beauties? For this recipe, I removed the casings and crumbled the sausage, then I . . . well, you’ll see in the recipe. And while admittedly I’m not the best food stylist around (and besides…I was in such a hurry to eat them that I neglected to take a picture of them cut in half…), these babies were great! Hope you make and enjoy.
Vegetarian Sausage Stuffed Shells
1 package jumbo shells (12 ounces), uncooked
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 package (10 ozs.) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed of excess moisture
1 package vegetarian sausage (I use Field Roast’s Italian, which is 12 ozs.)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt & pepper to taste
1 jar (26 ozs.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Preheat oven to 375°.
Prepare the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions. Don’t overcook. Drain and set aside when finished.
While pasta is cooking, remove the casing from the vegetarian sausage and crumble. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat; add crumbled sausage and cook through. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, spinach, crumbled sausage, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, eggs, and salt & pepper. Stuff each shell with enough of cheese/spinach/sausage mixture to fill it. In a large baking dish (13″ x 9″ x 2″ or larger) place stuffed shells side-by-side.
Spread spaghetti sauce evenly over shells, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until sauce bubbles. If desired, at the end of 30 minutes, remove foil and place back in the oven for additional 2-3 minutes to melt cheese.