You had me at stuffed pasta. These stuffed pasta shells are a meal in a skillet, and they're done in 25 minutes.
These jumbo shells are stuffed with italian sausage and tomatoes in a garlicky creamy sauce, nestled all cozy into a skillet, then topped with more sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked until bubbly!
To make this skillet, start by boiling the jumbo shells. These are the big ones, the "stuffable" ones. Salt the water to prevent sticking, and aim for a couple of minutes under al dente. The reason for this being, that they'll be sturdy enough to stuff and work with and then they'll finish cooking in the oven.
In a frying pan, on medium-high heat, fry ground italian sausage, minced sweet onion and minced garlic until sausage is brown and crispy. Pour over 2 cups of pureed tomatoes. Use fresh ones that you've pureed or previously frozen and thawed out, pureed. Add a half cup heavy cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes and then turn the heat off.
Get the baking dish that you are going to be putting the shells in ready. If you plan to use the same pan that you fried everything in, just pour the sausage and tomato cream sauce into a bowl to free up the pan space. Using a slotted spoon, begin scooping out the sausage from the sauce, and stuffing it into the shells. Using a slotted spoon allows you to get the meat without using up all the sauce. Arrange the shells in the pan so that they are in one layer, and there is no room left to crowd another in. Also, place them with their open side up.
Pour about three quarters of the remaining sauce over the tops of the shells. Place chunks of mozzarella cheese sporadically onto the top of that, then spoon on the remaining sauce into piles over the cheese.
Bake at 450 degrees until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.
Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 12 oz jumbo pasta shells cooked 2 minutes short of al dente
- 1 lb ground italian sausage
- 1 sweet onion minced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups pureed tomatoes about 3 medium, fresh or frozen (canned is not recommended, as they lack sweetness)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese divided into 1 inch hunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Boil pasta two minutes short of al dente, in salted water, drain and set aside.
- Fry sausage, onion and garlic until sausage is brown and crispy and onion is translucent.
- Pour over pureed tomato, heavy cream. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, stuff shells to full, leaving behind as much sauce as the slotted spoon allows.
- Nestle the shells, open side up, in a single layer into a baking dish until there is no more room. (If your baking dish is not non-stick, smear some sauce on the bottom to "grease" it so that the shells don't stick while baking.)
- Spoon about three quarters worth of the remaining sauce evenly over the shells.
- Place 1 inch hunks of mozzarella cheese sporadically over the top.
- Spoon remaining sauce over the top, into little pools around and on the cheese.
- Bake at 450 degrees until golden and bubbly, about 7-10 minutes.