1 pound Dean’s mild sausage
1 jar marinara sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz. Ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 beaten egg
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, 1 tsp if using dry
1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained per package directions (tested with Barilla)
Grated Parmesan cheese
In a small saucepan, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Set half of the sausage aside for filling. Add the marinara sauce, tomato paste, water, brown sugar and Italian seasoning to sausage in pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine the Ricotta, 1/2 of mozzarella cheese, egg, parsley and reserved sausage. Stuff into shells. Spread 3/4 cup meat sauce in an ungreased shallow baking dish. Place stuffed shells in dish; drizzle with remaining meat sauce.
Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese if desired. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes.