Home > Dinner > Stuffed Shells with Sausage Stuffed Shells with Sausage August 7, 2020 | 16 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Delicious, extra-cheesy, Stuffed Shells with Sausage use a few shortcuts to make this dinner so fast and easy to make. Stuffed Shells with Sausage My kids love red sauce and noodles — they ask for it just about every single day so I have to get a little creative in the way I’m dishing up those red-sauced noodles. Sometimes it’s this turkey bolognese or this spaghetti bolognese and other days I rely on these tried-and-true Stuffed Shells with Sausage or these chicken parm stuffed shells. They’re the perfect easy weeknight dinner, thanks to a few shortcuts, which I’ll share below! Recipe Shortcuts Marinara sauce. The main shortcut is using store-bought pasta sauce. While making homemade is simple, it still takes time and dirties another dish. Our two favorites to use in this recipe are Classico® Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce or Rao’s® marinara sauce. A good marinara makes a huge difference and give you an authentic Italian flavor without any extra effort. And because a good marinara sauce has so much flavor, we don’t need to add many additional seasonings and spices to these Stuffed Shells with Sausage. Seasoned cream cheese. No need to chop onions for this Italian dish! Try using green onion & chive cream cheese, which brings out the traditional onion flavor in an Italian dish without any extra work. Pre-shredded cheese. I’m usually all about shredding cheese off a block, but for this recipe, it works to use pre-shredded. I recommend an Italian blend so it further intensifies the Italian-inspired flavors in this dish. Pre-chopped or frozen yellow onion. If you’re looking to save even more time, you can generally buy pre-diced onions in the produce section of the grocery store or even in the frozen aisle. QUICK TIPIf you’d like to sneak more veggies (and flavor) into these stuffed shells with sausage, saute some finely diced carrots, celery, and/or diced green pepper along with the onion. You can buy these veggies frozen, typically the combination is labeled as “mirepoix” Stuffed Shells with Sausage Tips Cook a few extra shells. Occasionally a shell (or a few!) will break, so boil a few extra shells to use just in case that happens. Any leftovers can be chopped up and eaten with marinara sauce. Salt the pasta water. Make sure the jumbo pasta shells are well salted as they cook, since salting is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta and the entire dish can taste bland with un-seasoned pasta. Read about how to properly salt your pasta water here. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt to 4 cups of water. Stuff the shells efficiently. Add the cheese and sausage mixture to a gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag. Press the cheese mixture to one side of the bag and using scissors, cut off a 1-inch opening in the corner. Squeeze the cheese mixture into each shell and gently press the mixture down to fill the shells. Completely cover the shells with sauce. Aim to cover every part of the shells with marinara sauce so you don’t get tough, overcooked edges of pasta. Make ahead. Stuffed Shells with Sausage can be made up to a day in advance and then baked when you’re ready. If you make this recipe ahead of time, prepare them fully but do not bake. Once ready to bake them, bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil, and then uncover the shells and finish baking according to the recipe directions. How to freeze Stuffed Shells with Sausage I don’t recommend freezing the entire baked casserole. Instead, freeze the shells without sauce, right before baking: Fill all the boiled shells with the cheese and sausage mixture and place on a large sheet pan. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and then foil and allow to freeze completely. Once frozen, transfer the shells to large freezer bags. Remove any air and return to the freezer. You can freeze these stuffed shells for up to 3 months. When ready to eat: Add 1 cup marinara to a baking dish. Place the frozen shells on top and cover with the remaining marinara sauce. Bake at 400 degrees F (uncovered). Check that the shells are hot and cooked through at about 30-35 minutes and add additional time as needed. Add the cheese on top and bake for 5-10 minutes to melt. More delicious dinner recipes Creamy Pesto Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes Chicken Tinga Tacos with pickled red onions Short-cut Margherita Pizza on naan bread Chicken and Wild Rice with a cilantro-lime sauce Bruschetta Pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Stuffed Shells with Sausage 5 from 4 votes - Review this recipe These delicious, extra cheesy, Stuffed Shells with Sausage use a few shortcuts to make this dinner fast and easy to make. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Stuffed Shells with Sausage 5 from 4 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe These delicious, extra cheesy, Stuffed Shells with Sausage use a few shortcuts to make this dinner fast and easy to make. Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine Italian Keyword Sausage Stuffed Shells, Stuffed Shells with Sausage Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 35 minutes Total Time 55 minutes Servings 4 adult servings Calories 659kcal Author Chelsea Ingredients24 jumbo pasta shells uncooked1 tablespoon olive oil1 cup (140g) yellow onion2 teaspoons minced garlic1/2 pound (204g) extra-lean ground beef1/2 pound (227g) ground Italian sausage1 tablespoon Italian seasoningFine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper1 jar (24 ounces; 680g) marinara sauce (We love Rao's or Classico's Tomato Basil)1 container (7.5 ounces, 212g) chive and green onion cream cheese (soft, spreadable)1 bag (2 cups, 218g) shredded Italian cheese blend, separated1/2 cup (25g) grated Parmesan cheese1 large eggOptional: fresh parsley, fresh basil InstructionsPREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Spray a 9x13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 1 cup (245g) of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan and set aside. SHELLS: Salt the water once it's boiling (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt to every 4 cups of water). Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to package directions for al dente, boiling for 1 minute less than the package says. I recommend boiling a few extra in case some break. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.MEAT MIXTURE: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the onion and stir for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Move veggies to the side of the pan and add in the ground beef, Italian sausage, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Stir and break up the meat. Cook until browned and then remove from the heat (drain any grease if needed) and set aside.CHEESE MIXTURE: In a large bowl, mix cream cheese spread, 1 and 1/2 cups of the Italian cheese, the Parmesan and egg. Mix until combined. Add in the cooked beef/sausage mixture and stir to combine. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each shell. (See Note 1.)BAKE: Place the stuffed shells on the sauce in prepared pan and then pour the remaining sauce over top, covering the shells completely. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Italian cheese and cook for 10 more minutes.ENJOY: Remove and top with fresh parsley and basil if desired. Recipe NotesNote 1: To stuff the shells easily, add the cheese and sausage mixture to a gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag. Press the cheese mixture to one side of the bag and using scissors, cut off a 1-inch opening in the corner. Squeeze the cheese mixture into each shell and gently press the mixture down to fill the shells. Make ahead: These stuffed shells with sausage can be made up to a day in advance and then baked when you're ready. If you make this recipe ahead of time, prepare them fully but do not bake them. Once ready to bake, bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil; then uncover the shells and finish baking according to the recipe directions. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 659kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 931mg | Potassium: 603mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 345IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 397mg | Iron: 4mg DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.