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Jan 04

Four Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Shells

Four Cheese and Sausage Stuffed Shells

That’s right people, not just one cheese, not two or three. I am bringing you FOUR cheeses in this dish. If that itself doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.  Maybe the soft jumbo pasta shells, the savory tomato sauce and the spicy Italian sausage will do the trick. I planned on using low fat Ricotta in this dish because I’m generally not a fan of fat free cheeses, but my grocery store was out. I figured mixing it with Parmesan and low fat cottage cheese would mellow or eliminate any icky “fat free taste” and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference. The fat free Ricotta tasted like normal Ricotta to me! This is a great dish to serve your family or to guests because it makes a lot. I plan on freezing half of my pan in individual servings to reheat on nights I don’t feel like cooking. To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!

Four Cheese and Sausage Stuffed Shells Pre-Baked

Four Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Shells

These Four Cheese and Sausage Stuffed Shells are cheesy, saucy comfort food!


  • 12 oz box of jumbo pasta shells, approximately 36 shells
  • 1 lb uncooked Italian chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 24 oz jar of pasta sauce, divided (I used tomato basil sauce)
  • 15 oz fat free Ricotta cheese
  • 16 oz 1% low fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded 2% Mozzarella cheese


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350. Spread ½ cup of the pasta sauce across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain.
  • While the water is boiling, place the uncooked sausage in a sauté pan and bring over medium-high heat. Cook meat while breaking it up with a wooden spoon until meat is browned and cooked through. Reduce heat to low and add the remainder of the pasta sauce. Stir to combine with sausage and keep on low to warm.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt and stir until thoroughly combined. Spoon the cheese mixture evenly into each pasta shell, placing the filled shells into the prepared baking dish. Fitting all 36 stuffed shells in the dish is a tight squeeze! Spoon the sauce and sausage over the top of the shells and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese over the top of the sauce.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until heated through and cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.


To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
Nutrition Information:
271 calories, 30 g carbs, 7 g sugars, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 22 g protein, 2 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
MyWW SmartPoints per (3 shells) serving: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Green: 8 SmartPoints/ Blue: 8 SmartPoints/ Purple: 8 SmartPoints
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Four Cheese and Sausage Stuffed Shells

54 comments on “Four Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Shells”

  1. These look amazing! I’m adding the ingredients to my next grocery list.

  2. This looks fantastic!! Thank you so much for including the calorie and nutrition info from mfp!! That helps a lot for those of us who are calorie counting instead of doing WW. Can’t wait to try this!!

  3. Thanks ladies, I hope you love them!

    Traci – It’s something I want to start doing moving forward, I just haven’t made a big deal about it yet because I want to make sure I’ll stick to doing the extra work before I promote it :P. Hearing that it’s helpful for you makes me feel like it’s worth it! The only big problem is that the thought of going back and figuring out the NI for every single one of my previous recipes sounds incredibly overwhelming/time consuming/daunting. When I officially make the commitment moving forward I’ll have to let everyone know that going back to add it to all my old recipes is going to take a while…


    • Thanks for posting the nutrition info. Just found out I have gestational diabetes and need to count carb servings per meal/snack. I appreciate your recipes showing me the carb count! Thanks!

    • No problem! I am still trying to go back and do all my 2011 recipes, but all my recipes moving forward will definitely include that information. 🙂

  4. looks great!! any suggestions for sausage substitutes? i really, really don’t like sausage of any kind. 🙂 it looks like they’d be good without the sausage, but i think DBF would want some sort of meat in there. 😀

  5. I think I may have found my first recipe to try this year!

    Thanks Emily for the great recipes!

  6. Oo, I love stuffed shells! I bet this is fantastic.

  7. This is very similar in concept to the homemade ravioli filling we make… italian sausage and some feta and havarti cheese. When I have more filling than homemade ravioli dough, I also stuff it into the shells like above. Delicious. Bet this recipe is delicious too and oh, fat free ricotta taste the same as regular to me. Now if I could just find a low fat macaroni and cheese that tasted anything like the real thing. *sigh* My family still prefers the blue box to my attempts at homemade low fat mac and cheese.

  8. Reena – I think ground beef or ground turkey would be good too. You might want to toss in a little extra seasoning.

    heels – I hope you like it!

    Lisa – It was really good. It made so much that I froze a bunch and now I’ll get to eat it later too!

    skirnirh – Right? I am not usually a fat free cheese fan but FF ricotta totally tastes the same to me. Have you tried the mac & cheese on my site? I’m particularly fond of it: http://emilybites.com/2011/09/creamy-stove-top-macaroni-cheese.html

  9. Made this dish last night, so good!!!! Had guests over for dinner and ended up sending the recipe home with them. I couldn’t find FF ricotta at my grocery store, so I used the low fat version and substituted FF cottage cheese.

    Emily- how did you fill your shells? Is there an easier way than spooning the mixture in? I ended up getting the filling everywhere 🙂

  10. I’m so glad you and your guests liked this, Liz! If there’s an easier way to fill the shells, I don’t know it. Spooning it in is awkward and messy butt hat’s what I did too!

  11. Could you put the cheese mixture into a ziplock and squeeze the filling in (similar to using an icing bag??)

  12. Anonymous – great idea!

  13. Would using ground turkey be the same in WW points?

  14. What kind of parmesan cheese? Shredded or the spinkle stuff?

  15. Emily, these were great! Husband didn’t know until eating leftovers that it actually had turkey sausage in it! I’m out to prove him wrong-not everything has to be made with loads of fat to be good.

    We’ve liked everything so far that we’ve tried. Keep ’em coming!

    P.S. One question-do you think it took about 1 1/2 TBLS to fill each shell?

    • So happy you and your husband enjoyed them! I didn’t measure when I was filling the shells so I’m really not sure how much went in each one. Next time!

  16. Just made this tonight as our Valentine’s day dinner – DELICIOUS!!!! WOW! Thanks so much! Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

  17. Did they reheat ok after being frozen?


  18. I make something very similar but add frozen spinach (well thawed, strained and then add to the filling mix)

  19. I am currently eating this AMAZING dish. What an awesome recipe! This is one of the best meals I’ve made in the last year. I can’t tell you how much my husband and I love this recipe. You’ve really outdone yourself, and I can’t wait to make it again (and I’ve got more on my plate and leftovers!). Thank you!!

  20. So yummy! My kids even ate it. Which says a lot. Such a chore to get them to eat dinner. Thank you for the work you put into it.

  21. I made this for dinner tonight and they were delicious! This is the first that I have tried from your site and I was definitely not dissapointed! Can’t wait to try some other recipes!

  22. Can you share specifics on how you repeated them?
    Making them for the first time tonight!

  23. I made this for supper tonight, and it was delicious! I think next time, I’ll use more sauce and more Italian seasoning. We loved it, though! Thank you!

  24. made these for dinner on Sunday night and had some leftovers for dinner tonight. so delicious even the day after! Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  25. These are so, so good! I made them Thursday night, had them for lunch Friday, and just had them for lunch now. I am still not sick of them! Thanks for another amazing, healthy recipe Emily!

  26. Just made these tonight. SO delicious. We added about 2 cups of chopped baby spinach leaves to the cheese mixture to up the fiber/veggie content. This is definitely getting added to the dinner rotation.

  27. Having the in-laws over tonight and making this awesome looking dish! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for all the WW friendly recipes. I couldn’t be as successful as I am without all of your tasty dishes!

  28. Can you make this ahead in the morning and bake at dinner time?

  29. Emily – you ROCK!! This was so amazing. It was even better the second day as leftovers. Everything I have made from your site has been so good – and most are super easy as well. You have made me fall in love with cooking again and following Weight Watchers is a breeze with your recipes in the weekly rotation. I even got my husband to join WW and he is enjoying all of your recipes! Thank you SO much and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Aw, thank you! I’m so glad you loved this recipe and that my site has been so helpful for you. That makes my day :). Thank you for your lovely comment and Merry Christmas to you and yours as well! 🙂

  30. I made this for my picky family and they loved it! I didn’t use the cottage cheese (not a fan) just used 2 containers of ricotta (one non-fat and one low fat) and it turned out great. I will definitely be making this again!
    Thanks for all you great recipes! I’m a huge fan of your meal cupcake recipes! Keep them coming 🙂

    • I’m so happy it was a hit with your family! Thanks for the sweet comment, I will definitely keep them coming 🙂

  31. These were absolutely delicious! My whole family liked them, especially my 2.5 year old who kept asking for more! I think next time I may try adding thawed, drained frozen spinach to the sauce mixture. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  32. This dish was delicious! I’m new to WW and was wondering how I count this dish on their mobile app? Do I put in each individual ingredient? Thanks

  33. Is a serving considered 1 she’ll?

    • Nope, the serving info is listed directly under the recipe title in the recipe section of the post 🙂

  34. Just made these this week for the first time. OMG they are awesome! I made the day before cooking which gave time for the seasonings to meld. I did add a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to the cheese mixture. The family loved it.

  35. I have a few questions while this meal is currently heating. I bought boats head chicken sausage and could not for the life of my get the casing off. I sliced down it but couldn’t remove it. Is there a trick to this ? Also, how did you fit all of these in an 11×13? Were they all in just one layer or did you do two layers of shells?

    • Did you maybe buy pre-cooked sausage instead of uncooked sausage? It’s pretty easy to peel off uncooked sausage. I crammed them into a single layer 🙂

  36. Emily, your website has been my go-to for a decade now! I made these for this week’s dinners, but I swapped out the sausage for diced turkey pepperoni (I just figured out in my app how many I could have for the same amount of points as 1 pound of turkey sausage) that I folded directly into the cheese mixture! They taste like pepperoni calzone–DELICIOUS!

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