Chicken-Basil Baked Shells

Chicken-Basil Baked Shells

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If you can’t find chicken sausage, any sort of Italian-style sausage will work well (both pork or turkey sausage). Using store-bought marinara sauce makes this a simple recipe, but feel free to substitute homemade sauce if you have some on hand.


  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 oz package frozen spinach (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 45 basil leaves rolled and sliced into ribbons


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the shells until very al dente, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken sausage and cook it, breaking it up with a spatula, until browned. Add the onion, garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook it for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Turn the heat off and add the mozzarella cubes.
  3. Spread a 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Fill the shells with the chicken sausage mixture and place in the baking dish. Top the shells with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce. Top with the provolone cheese and sliced basil. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the shells for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.


Look for frozen spinach in a bag. There’s no need to defrost it like you would need to do with a frozen block of spinach.