Once these babies came out of the oven though, all past sins were forgiven. These are definitely must make. I don't think it will be another year before these are on our dinner table again!
Cheesy Stuffed Shells
1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
1/2 pound Italian sausage (I used Italian chicken sausage)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach - thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2%)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add shells and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse in cold water.
Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and crumble. In a large bowl, combine cooked sausage, spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, garlic, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Stuff pasta shells with the sausage and cheese mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Top with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the pasta is heated through and the cheese is melted.
To go along with the shells I made some fresh Italian bread. I've made this bread before, however this time I was talking while I was mixing the dough and accidentally put the egg and tablespoon of water that were meant for the egg wash in the dough. I didn't realize my mistake until the dough was mixing, but I figured the egg couldn't do too much damage and I was right. In fact, I think I like the bread with the egg in it better - it had a softer and springier consistency from previous loaves which I really liked. Mmmm...bread. It was so yummy that I had three good-sized pieces, which is why poor Tucker had to then suffer a 30 minute power walk in 95 degree heat with me after dinner. It was so worth it though - at least I think so. Tucker, who is currently panting at my feet, may disagree ;)