Stuffed Shells and a Lab

Here is a great stuffed shell dish that I put together with what was in my refrigerator.  Really I had a beautiful bunch of spinach that came in my CSA box that needed a good home and this is what happened.  Jumbo shells were stuffed with ricotta cheese , small amount of Italian sausage, and topped with a simple tomato sauce.  They were lighter than most shells that I have made because they lacked the addition of mozzarella cheese on top.  You could certainly add it if you’d like.    One of the most popular recipes on my blog now is one that I have been using for about ten years Stuffed Mexican Shells.  Check out what my students had fun doing in lab last week.  Looking at their photos you can tell that they had a little trouble with the recipe, but even so they all were very edible.   This is so rewarding!  I have had a half-dozen students bring me their phone with pictures of these stuffed shells that they prepared for their family.  Now I have done my job.  They are cooking for their families and reaping the rewards.  Teaching at its best! 

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Italian Sausage    Yield:  16 shells

  • 16 jumbo shells cooked according to directions
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 lb. Italian sausage cooked and drained
  • large bunch of spinach
  • 28 oz. can Italian style tomatoes in juice
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Heat saucepan over medium high heat.  Add olive oil and garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Watch carefully.  Burned garlic will be bitter.
  2. Add tomatoes.  If necessary cut into small pieces with kitchen shears.  Bring to a boil then turn to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix ricotta cheese with egg, nutmeg, and Italian sausage.
  4. Saute washed and dried spinach in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until wilted.  Add to cheese mixture.
  5. Stuff shells with cheese mixture.
  6. Place about a cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. casserole dish.
  7. Place stuffed shells on top of the sauce.
  8. Top shells with the remaining sauce.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
  10. Just a note for the cooks:  I found that these shells were not as good the next day.

Here are the photos for the Mexican Stuffed Shell Lab:

1st Block Kitchen 1

1st Block Kitchen 2

1st Block Kitchen 3

1st Block Kitchen 4

1st Block Kitchen 5

1st Block Kitchen 6

2nd Block Kitchen 1

2nd Block Kitchen 2

2nd Block Kitchen 3

2nd Block Kitchen 4

2nd Block Kitchen 5



Filed under Main dish

38 responses to “Stuffed Shells and a Lab

  1. You must be such an inspiration to these students! Everything looks wonderful

  2. Rebecca McConnell

    This food was one of my favorites . Ilearned to be more careful handling the noodles because they will rip easily !

  3. jessica n

    handle the noodle with care or they will tear.

  4. the stuffed shells took some time but it was worth the wait my favorite part was stuffing the shells

  5. gabby c. 1st per.; 2nd sem.

    I honestly enjoyed making the stuffed shells during lab. This was one of my favorite labs that we did in class. I never knew how to make them nor have I ever seen them being made until this class, so now I know how to make them at home.

  6. edwin warner

    I learned that even if you do not follow the recipe correctly and put only half of your onions in the mix, the shells will still turn out good.

  7. Alex

    These were fun to make but it took patience… which I lack. I always hated peppers and chilis but they were pretty good in the stuffed shells. I never realized that a mixture of pasta and mexican would be so good!

  8. Kaitlyn C

    These were Easy and AMAZING!!
    i learned , you can add as much of whatever you want in the shells and they still come out Greatt !

  9. Viviana D.

    i leraned if you bake the stuffed shells without the foil covering the pan they will cook much quicker and the stuffed shells will come out more crunchier.

  10. natasha

    These were faboulous! They tasted soo good, the right amount of salsa and everything.

  11. these were delicious!! i learned how to make stuffed shells:)

  12. sandrella cash-sims

    These where one of my favorites that we made in class . they where delicious

  13. kassie

    i had a great tiime help cook this meal with my team mates 🙂 this is one of my favorite recipes that we’ve done so far

  14. sandrella cash-sims


  15. Summer Bailey

    This was a great lab and something i am sure to cook at home, but one thing i learned is that you have to be gentle with the shells or they can tear very easily.

  16. Cierra Portis

    I learned that stuff shells is an easy and fast recipe to learn and make.

  17. Kaylon Hendrix

    The shells for this we’re very sensitive, and handling them roughly means easy tearing. Overall, this lab was very yummy, quicker than I thought, and fun to do.

  18. Jordan Griffin 2nd black

    I learned that you have to be careful with the shells or they will tear.

  19. Katie Johnson

    the stuffed shells were fairly easy to make. and it didnt take much time to make. It is always a joy cooking with my group.

  20. Marty @nd period

    I learned that in the process of making Mexican stuffed shells it takes time and thaet you must follow that time by the recipe. you must follow instructions no matter how good it looks.

  21. alyssa

    The stuffed shells was a very good lab. We just should have cooked our shells longer.

  22. Jasmine Jones

    I enjoyed this meal very much, I learned a new mexican dish, and that to be careful w/ the pasta b/c it might rip!

  23. Carmen G.

    i learned that you have to be very careful when you handle the shells cause they’ll tear.

  24. Brooke H

    I learned that when you cook this you have to time it just right otherwise it will crisp and not taste as good.

  25. Matthew busby

    I learned that you you have to follow the exact times on this recipe otherwise it will not come out right

  26. Ashton K

    this was the most filling meal! the flavor was really good.

  27. breana h

    this was a really good dish i cant wait for my dad to get off his diet so i can make this at home because my family loves mexican food:)

  28. Sarah M

    I learned that cooking the shells for 13 minutes instead of 30 minutes, does make a difference.

  29. brittany h. 2nd block

    I never knew spinash was used in a mexican dish.

  30. nutmeg! excellent! you can’t go wrong with pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese. the end. 🙂

  31. Wow. Those look really good, Wanda. I can’t wait until I can introduce carbs back into my diet! I miss pasta.

  32. Lindsey Harley

    i learned if you bake the stuffed shells without the foil covering the pan the outside of the shells will become crunchy and it will cook faster

  33. galia sayyar

    i learned that if you accidentally put them in the oven for only 13 minutes, they still come out good.

  34. charity

    i learned putting the stuffed shells in the oven witg out covering them keeps the shells from being flimsy!

  35. jessica v.

    i learned that when stuffing the shells you have to be exra carful so you won’t have ripped up stuffed shells.

  36. Max

    When you’re making the Italian version, with ricotta/mozzarella/parm, why do you have to add egg to the cheese mixture? I made these for the first time without egg, because we’re out of them and no one wanted to go out to buy some; they tasted fine.

    • theteachercooks

      Max, You probably could leave the egg out, but it acts as a binder here holding the cheeses together.

      • Max

        I guess my cheese had no issues with each other because they binded (bound?) together as if there were egg there 😉 lol. Thanks for this quick reply!

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