Sausage Stuffed Shells

Valerie Reeves Recipe

By Valerie Reeves Marin8

30 Min
35 Min

For years, I tried to find a recipe for stuffed shells and/or manicotti that included meat in the filling. So, after lots of experimenting, I came up with my own! My husband and kids beg me to make this - they say it is the best pasta dish ever!

pinch tips: Non-Stick Rice Every Time

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Notes from the Test Kitchen:
This a a terrific variation of a stuffed shells recipe. The silky cream cheese is the perfect off-set for the slightly spicy sausage. A real winner!


8 oz
jumbo pasta shells
24 oz jar(s)
spaghetti sauce
1 lb
hot, mild, or italian sausage
14.5 oz can(s)
petite diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp
italian seasoning
4 oz
cream cheese
2 1/2 c
mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 c
parmesan cheese, shredded
egg, beaten

Directions Step-By-Step

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool on paper towel.
Brown sausage in large skillet on medium heat. Drain fat and return skillet to stove. Ground beef may also be used. I prefer hot or Italian sausage.
Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and cream cheese to skillet, continue cooking on medium heat until cream cheese is completely melted. (About 15-20 minutes).
Pour contents of skillet into large mixing bowl. Add beaten egg, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Mixture may seem a little watery, but don't worry, it will thicken during baking.
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce into bottom of pan and spread around.
Spoon meat mixture into each shell and place in pan. This recipe should make 16-18 shells. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over the shells.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, spread remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top of shells, and return to oven for last 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
**Note - Optional ingredients that may be added to skillet include spinach, onions, mushrooms, depending on preference.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Pasta, Pork
Main Ingredient: Pork
Regional Style: Italian
Collection: Member's Choice

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Kitchen Crew JustaPinch
Sep 29, 2010
Janet awarded this recipe a Blue Ribbon!

This a a terrific variation of a stuffed shells recipe. The silky cream cheese is the perfect off-set for the slightly spicy sausage. A real winner!
Dan Hammond Hambone
Oct 4, 2010
I had these last week and they were the best pasta shells I've ever had...I'm not a big fan of ravioli or stuffed pasta, but this dish with the sausage really tickled my tastebuds...excellent dish. Thanks for sharing it!
Kimberly Kay KimberlyV65
Nov 30, 2010
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'll give it a try soon; sounds wonderful!
Brenda Replogle Brenda48
Nov 30, 2010
This sounds absolutely delicious!! Are you saying you can add the spinach along with the sausage? I am getting hungry just reading the recipe. Thanks for sharing!!!
cookie vigue cookev
Nov 30, 2010
sounds wonderful, but why the cream cheese?
Valerie Reeves Marin8
Nov 30, 2010
Yes Brenda, the spinach does taste great with the sausage - almost like a pizza! And the cream cheese adds a little "tang" and creaminess to the mixture. I put cream cheese in my lasagna, also. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
Windy Airey JazzyJo
Nov 30, 2010
Oh Lordy... My mouth is watering!! Going to make this for hubby this week, for sure! Thanks for the recipe, Valerie, and congrats on the blue ribbon! :)
Jill Stewart jstewart
Dec 1, 2010
Looking forward to trying this recipe, thanks! We always buy the Johnsonville Italian sausage (hot variety) to keep on hand. Good to find new ways to cook with it.
Vera Davidson VeraJ
Dec 1, 2010
I might be wrong, but besides the creaminess & taste, I think the cream cheese 'binds' the mixture and holds it together. I make kind of the same filling, but I slightly steam pablano peppers (halved lengthwise) or another mild, long pepper and stuff them instead of the shells. A whole new take on stuffed peppers.
Try a couple of "plops" of cream cheese in your spaghetti sauce - I would not have believed it myself if I hadn't tried it. Yum.
Dee Allen Mmmm49
Dec 2, 2010
We call those Chile Relleno here in Albuquerque, que delicioso!
Trisha Rockhill tlrockhill33
Dec 2, 2010
LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! It's easy enough for my kids to help with and delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! :)
Shelley Cyr scyr
Dec 3, 2010
I used mild Italian sausage and they were delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe!!
Shannon Smith Shannon
Jan 24, 2011
I made these last week and they were DELISH! Love the sausage it makes it more of a meal to me. Thanks for posting this yummy recipe.
Barbara overton bjoverton
Feb 11, 2011
I made this a couple nites ago. used a cheap sauage and they were good. BUTT i made them again tonite with a hot sauage and they are wonderful.Thanks for sharing
Dan Hammond Hambone
Mar 29, 2011
I tried this recipe and say it's Family Tested & Approved!