Smoked Cheesy Brats Stuffed Shells

OMG... this is decadent. This is a SERIOUS cheese sauce. A little goes a long way with this recipe! I'd actually recommend not using the full amount of cheese sauce in the dish, because it is super rich and doesn't need such a thick coating. That said, the cheese sauce is SO good. I can't wait to get my hands on some more smoked gouda and cheddar and make other delicious cheesy dishes with it! 

This paired well with a crisp green salad to balance the richness of the dish! The tasty smoked brats work very well with the smoky cheese sauce and create a wonderful stuffed shell recipe.

I served the leftovers up with some roasted asparagus which was also very tasty! (And oh my goodness, roasted asparagus is like candy in this house - it disappears off the sheet pan ridiculously quick)!

Smoked Cheesy Brats Stuffed Shells

About 9-oz Jumbo Shells, cooked to al dente (about 9 minutes) and cooled
3 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8-oz smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (divided use)
6-oz smoked Cheddar cheese, shredded (divided use)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 TBS olive oil
1 12-oz package smoked brats, diced into small pieces (divided use)

8-oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
12-oz frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the filling ingredients - softened cream cheese, thawed spinach, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the mixed shredded cheeses. Mix to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium to medium high heat. When melted, whisk in the roux and allow to simmer for about a minute. Whisk in the half and half and increase heat until it comes just to a simmer and thickens up into a rich sauce. Turn off heat and add in all remaining shredded cheese, whisking until melted and blended in. Add in the 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
  4. In a pan, heat the 1/2 TBS olive oil, and fry the diced brat pieces until well browned. Use a slotted spoon to drain and add about half of the fried pieces to your filling mixture, and the other half to your cheese sauce. Stir both to incorporate the meat pieces.
  5. Next stuff your cooled shells, with about 1 TBS of filling per shell, until you've used up all shells and all filling. Place the shells in the prepped 9x13 dish as you fill them.
  6. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the prepped shells.
  7. Cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until filling is warm and gooey and shells are cooked to your desired tenderness.


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