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Kate's Saucy Stuffed Shells 2 Ways (3 Cheese & Sausage Meat)

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“Why choose between Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan Filled shells and Italian Sausage and Ground Beef Filled shells when you can have one of each? This recipe pleases both Cheese-Lovers and Meat-Eaters.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. MARINARA SAUCE: In a large pot, sauté onions until caramelized in olive oil. Remove 1/3 of sautéed onions from the pot and transfer to a separate bowl and set aside for later use in Meat Filling. (These onions are reserved for use in the Meat Filling in Step 3.) To the pot, add garlic and sauté for two minutes more. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, sugar, basil, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer sauce for 2 to 3 hours, the longer cooking time the better, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Stir in parsley and turn off heat. This Marinara Sauce recipe can be substituted for 8-9 cups of jarred marinara sauce.
  2. RICOTTA FILLING: To a large bowl, combine 2 cups ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and salt. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Mix in 3 eggs. Refrigerate until ready to stuff shells.
  3. MEAT FILLING: To the bowl with reserved ½ sautéed onion (these are the onions reserved from Step 1), add ground beef, sausage, 1 egg, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/3 cup milk, and 2 teaspoons fresh parsley and mix. Make 13- 2 inch meatballs. Refrigerate until ready to stuff shells.
  4. PASTA: Cook shells according to package directions until al dente. Make sure to thoroughly salt the water before adding pasta to prevent sticking. After draining pasta, drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Transfer to a large piece of parchment paper. Spread pasta in one layer not touching each other to prevent sticking.
  5. ASSEMBLY: Cover bottom of large baking dish with ¼ inch of Marinara Sauce. Cup a shell in one hand and spoon Ricotta Filling into the shell with the other. Make 13 Ricotta Filled shells. Leave room in between Ricotta Filled shells for Meat Filled shells. Cup a shell in one hand and place meatball into the shell with the other. Place the shells into the baking dish alternating Ricotta Filled with Meat Filled, arranging in a single layer. Ladle the remaining Marinara Sauce on top of Meat Filled shells but not on top of the Ricotta Filled shells.
  6. TOPPING: Sprinkle shells with 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 400F degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until bubbling, and Meat Filled shells are fully cooked.
  7. TO SERVE: Give each person an equal number of Ricotta Filled shells and Meat Filled shells. Spoon Marinara Sauce over both.

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