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Stuffed Shells with Sausage #theflavorthusiast

How does one get the kids and grandkids to gather at the dinner table at the same time? … make their fave …

… my Stuffed Shells and Sausage, of course lol. Everyone will want leftovers, so this is an all afternoon affair…

Sauté in the onions, garlic, mushrooms, bell peppers, and poblano pepper in a drizzle of olive oil with sweet Hungarian paprika, salt,and pepper. After vegi’s are softened, add the Italian sausage, ground fennel, and Italian seasoning. When browned add, ground beef, second half of Italian seasoning, salt, and paprika. Let simmer for about an hour.

Add the tomato purée and capers. Simmer for one to two hours. This is plenty of time to make the filling.

In a large bowl, because I always make enough for the small army I call mine, mix the ricotta and all the other cheeses, and egg, while boiling the water for the shells.

It’s a messy job, but I promise this recipe is SO worth it. If I can get my, pickiest of picky, daughter to get excited about this dinner… playing in the cheese filling is oh so good. She says it’s better than licking the spoon from making cake frosting.

So it’s time to fill the shells!

Spoon a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and place the shells in any order you like. A box of shells will fill a large dish and a medium dish of you don’t cram them in. Then spoon the remaining meat sauce over the shells. You don’t have to completely cover the shells, they will finish cooking no matter what.

Before placing in the oven, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or u til browned.

I know the poblano pepper, ground fennel, and the amount of garlic and dried Italian seasonings seem like a bit much. The Flavorthusiast that I am, enjoys making food fun AND flavorful. I’ve been told my plating skills have a lot of room for improvement… maybe one day that will be a priority 😊



Chop the following to sauté in good Italian olive oil…

1 shallot

4 lg green onions

1 each yellow and red bell pepper

1 container of Mushrooms

1 poblano pepper

1 head of garlic

Hungarian paprika, salt,and pepper to your liking ( I use a lot of everything except salt)

1lb 80/20 ground beef

1lb Italian sausage

Add half of each amount to sausage then cook, then half to ground beef, then sauté:

Divided – 1/4 cup of Italian seasoning

1 Tbsp Ground Fennel to sausage only

Divided – 1 Tbsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika

Equivalent of 2 large cans of tomato purée ( I make my own from fresh tomatoes)

4 tsp Capers with juice


2-3 cups whole milk Ricotta Cheese

Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

4 oz mascarpone cheese

8 oz cream cheese

Divided – 4 cups mozzarella cheese (2 cups saved for sprinkling on top before baking)

2 beaten eggs

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