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Skillet Stuffed Shells with Zucchini and Mushrooms

For sauce variations, see my notes above. 1) Try my slow cooker marinara sauce, or 2) if you simply don't have time, use your favorite 25.5 oz. jar of chunky tomato sauce. My pan could only hold about 13 to 14 jumbo shells. If you have leftover stuffing, I say stuff some more shells and freeze them!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main
Servings: 4
Author: Hip Foodie Mom


  • 13 to 14 jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil split
  • 6 oz. spicy Italian sausage casing removed (I used 2 sausage links)
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta water*
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 large zucchini grated (skin on)
  • 4 to 8 oz. cremini mushrooms sliced (depending on how much you like mushrooms)
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese + more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley split
  • freshly grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the jumbo pasta shells and cook according to package instructions, MINUS 1-2 minutes (the shells will cook longer in the skillet so you don't want them to be too soft.) *Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water, and then drain the pasta and place into a bowl. Lightly drizzle the cooked shells with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, this helps the shells not to stick together. Set aside.
  • Using a large skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned, cooked and no longer pink. Add the garlic; let cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium; add the crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 cup of the reserved pasta water (just 1 cup; you will add more later if you need it) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together and let the sauce simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more cooking water if the sauce gets too thick. Taste the sauce and adjust any ingredients as needed.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a separate skillet and cook the zucchini, mushrooms and spinach until softened for about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add in the ricotta cheese and 1 tablespoon of the fresh diced parsley. Mix together until well combined.
  • Stuff 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each shell and then arrange them in the skillet with the sauce, seam-side up. Turn the heat back up to medium high, sprinkle on some freshly grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese and cover with a lid. Let cook for a few minutes, or until the shells are heated through and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle on remaining 1 tablespoon of diced parsley and serve immediately. Enjoy!