Collard Stuffed Shells
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Recipe courtesy of Jocelyn Delk Adams

Chicken Sausage and Collard Stuffed Shells

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Savory chicken sausage, tender collard greens and an herb ricotta cheese mixture are loaded into tender pasta shells, topped with roasted garlic sauce and cheese and baked to bubbly perfection! This is a Cajun twist on an Italian dish the entire family will love.



  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a medium pan over medium heat. Crumble and cook the sausage in the pan until browned through, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. 
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the cooked crumbled sausage, ricotta, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, egg yolk and a pinch of salt and pepper until well combined. Cover and refrigerate.  
  4. Cook the pasta shells in the boiling water according to the package instructions, then use a slotted spoon or spider to move the pasta to a strainer. Set aside 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Prepare a bowl of ice water. 
  5. In the same water you boiled the pasta, blanch the collard greens for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to move the greens to the bowl of ice water. Wait 5 minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water.  
  6. In the meantime, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook the garlic until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the collard greens to the skillet, reduce the heat to low and cook until bright green, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water, cover with a lid and simmer until the collards are tender and deep green and most of the water has evaporated, another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.  
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  8. When ready to assemble, spray a 9-by-13-inch flameproof baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread one-third of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish. 
  9. Add the greens to the ricotta and sausage mixture and mix to combine. Carefully stuff the pasta shells with the filling (1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons each) and add to the bottom of the baking dish on top of the sauce. Pour the rest of the pasta sauce on top and finish by sprinkling with the mozzarella. 
  10. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden brown, an additional 10 minutes. If you’d like a more browned topping, turn the broiler on for the last couple of minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley if using and extra Parmesan.