This recipe is a little time consuming, but well worth it in the end! This is vegetarian friendly by simply omitting the ground chuck and Italian sausage. I often serve this with grilled chicken and a blush sauce (tomato sauce with heavy cream added) for a different flavor. Serves 6-8.
24 ounces (2 boxes) Jumbo Pasta Shells or Manicotti Shells
1 cup fresh baby spinach rinsed and cooked in 1 teaspoon olive oil, drained and chopped
2 lbs part skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb Italian sausage (removed from casing)
1 lb ground chuck
1 cup baby bella mushrooms finely chopped
1 large yellow onion diced
1 large red bell pepper diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
2 cans tomato sauce/puree seasoned with favorite spices (i.e. brown sugar, salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, etc) or 2 jars favorite tomato sauce
Sautee ground chuck and Italian sausage in lightly oiled pot, until brown. Meanwhile, using food processor or sharp knife chop onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and mince garlic. Remove vegetables and set aside. Allow meat to cool and then place in food processor in order to break meat apart. Add meat and vegetables back to pot and cook until vegetables are tender, over medium heat. Add 2 cans/jars tomato sauce. Reduce heat and simmer on low.
Boil pasta in large pot with water. Let cook approximately 10-15 minutes or until al dente. Remove from heat and drain immediately and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
In a large bowl, combine/whisk the following ingredients: ricotta cheese, parsley flakes, salt, pepper, eggs and spinach. Stuff shells by the tablespoon full. Keep warm in covered shallow dish until ready to serve or spoon warm sauce onto bottom of dish and top with shells.
When ready to serve, place 1/2 cup of meat sauce in bowl or on plate. Top sauce with 4-5 shells per serving. Garnish with shredded mozzarella and/or additional sauce.