It’s no secret that my family absolutely adores Italian dishes. All I have to do is say pasta and my guys come running to the table. Knowing this I’ve fine tuned my Italian cooking over the years and come up with some favorite dishes that I can quickly and easily whip up anytime I want to serve up a fantastic meal. While I know that any Italian recipe I create is always going to be well received, I’ve found that some of my dishes disappear more quickly than others and the one that is always enjoyed the most is my simple Sausage Stuffed Shells with Parmesan Cream Sauce.
While I know that pasta comes in many forms, my favorite way to serve up a hearty family meal is with stuffed shells. There is just something delicious about taking oversized pasta shells and filling them with tasty ingredients, especially when those tasty ingredients include Carando® Fresh Italian Sausage Links. With robust flavors that allow me to create an authentic Italian Style meal in less time that I ever thought possible, Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links are my secret ingredient that turns a regular Italian meal into a totally drool-worthy classic Italian meal. Here’s how I make it.
- 1 package of Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links
- 12 large pasta shells
- 4 cups of fresh spinach
- 1 and ½ cups of Ricotta cheese
- 2 cups of Parmesan-Asiago cheese blend
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of chopped basil (plus more for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta shells for 9 minutes, until tender but not completely cooked.
- Cut the Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links into slices and brown in a sauté pan for 3-5 minutes, until cooked completely.
- Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan-Asiago blend, egg and basil to a bowl and combine well.
- Mix in the cooked Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links.
- Wilt the spinach by adding it to a pan with 1 tablespoon of water and cooking it on low for 1-2 minutes.
- Place the wilted spinach in the bottom of a greased baking pan.
- Fill each of the cooked pasta shells with the cheese and sausage mixture and arrange in two lines in the baking pan.
- Add the butter to a sauce pan and mix in the flour to create a roux.
- Pour in the milk and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and stir over medium heat until the sauce is creamy.
- Spoon the Parmesan Cream Sauce over the prepared stuffed shells.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
While these Sausage Stuffed Shells with Parmesan Cream Sauce sound totally impressive (and trust me, they are), they are also super simple to make! As if that wasn’t enough to make this dish a favorite in my home, it’s bursting with Italian flavors that make everyone’s taste buds sing! So, how do I make such a fabulous meal so quickly and easily? I’m going to show you step by step!
To start this dish, I simply cook my pasta shells by adding them to boiling water for 9 minutes. This will not cook them completely but trust me, they will finish cooking in the oven later. Once my pasta shells are cooking, I grab my Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links, slice them into pieces and add them to a sauté pan to cook for 3-5 minutes.
If you’re wondering if using Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links matters, let me assure you that the answer is yes! I’ve used many of the Carando products over the years and I know that they are the perfect shortcut to help me make homemade Italian meals unforgettable. All of their products are high quality and use classic Italian ingredients and the best part is, Carando products are always fresh and not frozen. Seriously, using Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links ensures that this recipe will turn out tasting like a classic Italian meal and it’s so much easier than trying to cook from scratch and add in all those Italian flavors myself. Once my Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links are cooked to perfection, I remove them from the heat and start mixing the cheese filling for my stuffed shells. To do this, I simply add my ricotta cheese, Parmesan-Asiago mixture, egg and fresh basil to a bowl and combine it until it’s creamy.
With my cheese mixture ready and my Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links cooling slightly, my next step is to add my spinach and a tablespoon of water to a pan and wilt the spinach down (cooking it on medium for 1-2 minutes is all it takes). Once my spinach is wilted, I add it to the bottom of my greased baking dish and I’m ready to truly start assembling this amazing dish.
With my bed of wilted spinach ready to be topped with perfectly stuffed shells, I add my cooked Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links to my cheese mixture and mix it all together.
I’m being so serious when I say that this filling for my Sausage Stuffed Shells is so delicious! The creaminess of the cheese and the classic Italian taste of the Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links combines perfectly to create the foundation for an unforgettable Italian meal. All that’s left to do is fill my shells with the tasty mixture and that’s so easy! I simply grab my cooked shells one at a time, fill them with the sausage and cheese mixture and arrange them on my bed of wilted spinach.
At this point, everyone in my home is drooling and the house if filled with classic Italian smells and my dish is almost complete. All that’s left to do is make my Parmesan Cream sauce to tie it all together. To do this, I add my butter and flour to a sauce pan mix it together to create a roux. Then I pour in my milk and continue to stir it over medium heat until my sauce base thicken.
After mixing in my Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper (to taste), I continue to combine the mixture until the cheese is melted and it’s creamy. Then I simply spoon it over the top of my prepared Sausage Stuffed Shells.
Into the oven my entire dish goes on 350 degrees for 20 minutes. This is just the right amount of time to finish cooking the shells, melt all the cheese and bake all the flavors together in the most delicious way. Once my Sausage Stuffed Shells with Parmesan Cream Sauce is cooked to perfection, I remove it from the oven, sprinkle on more of my fresh basil and sit back to enjoy the fact that this tasty classic Italian dish is so easy to make.
Everyone in my family comes running when they hear that my Sausage Stuffed Shells with Parmesan Cream Sauce is ready to be served. With its stunning presentation and the promise of Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links in every single bite, this dish is an easy weeknight meal that feels fancy enough for weekends and thrills the Italian food lover in all of us.
As I serve up my Sausage Stuffed Shells with Parmesan Cream Sauce, I know that my family is getting is dish that’s made with high-quality, classic Italian meats that are the foundation for an Italian meal they will adore.
And as they savor the flavor that is baked into this classic Italian dish thanks to its star ingredient of Carando Spicy Sicilian Italian Sausage Links, I can feel great knowing that I’m serving up flavors that are easier and better.
Now it’s your turn. Whether you’re planning to make classic Italian spaghetti with meatballs, need the perfectly seasoned ground sausage to make your pasta sauce shine or want to whip up my Sausage Stuffed Shells with Creamy Parmesan sauce, I encourage you to start with the fresh, not frozen flavor of Carando! After all, Carando is the quick and easy foundation for classic Italian meals that your family is sure to adore. So the next time you want to cook up an Italian dish that’s sure to impress, start with something better and reach for Carando products in the fresh meats section of your local store. To learn more about what makes Carando Fresh Italian Sausage better, click here.
Then tell me, how will you use Carando fresh Italian Sausage to create the perfect dinner for your family tonight?