Sauce Anna Lisa pasta recipes

Lisa O’Connell is the creator of Sauce Anna Lisa, A locally made- Authentic, Italian style pasta sauce. (Minnesota)

Although she is not sharing her famous sauce recipe - she is sharing Spinach, ricotta, shallot and garlic Stuffed Shells. Anna Lisa’s Lasagna, Cheese Stuffed Manicotti and Anna Lisa’s Authentic Italian Bolognese.

Lisa started out making her Grandmother’s famous pasta sauce and canning it for a wedding gift. She loved the process so much that she began to sell it at the local farmer’s market. It wasn’t long before she was asked to supply to stores. It is a gift for her to be able to share her Grandmother’s pasta sauce with so many.

It is made from scratch in small batches, each week, right in Minneapolis. There is no sugar added, no preservatives, just high quality, fresh ingredients- It has been called “The Best Pasta Sauce in MPLS”, I hope you try it and that you agree”

Spinach, ricotta, shallot and garlic Stuffed Shells

1 26 oz Jar robustly flavored pasta sauce, such as Sauce Anna Lisa or another brand.

1 Box of Jumbo Shells

4 Cups packed, fresh spinach leaves

2 Cups mozzarella cheese

2 Cups ricotta cheese ( 15 oz works )

½ Cup Parmesan cheese

1 Egg

¼ Cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

2-3 Cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 Shallots, chopped

2 Tbsp butter

¼ Tsp white pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil to coat pan

Prepare shells as directed. Note: undercook slightly (by 2- 3 minutes) as the shells will continue to cook when baked. Rinse with cold water, strain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan add olive oil, butter, shallots and garlic, saute until translucent. Add spinach 2 cups at a time saute just until spinach is wilted. Add white pepper, black pepper and salt, stir to combine, more salt/pepper to taste, if desired. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of mozzarella, 1 cup ricotta, ½ cup parmesan, egg and parsley.

Using a spoon or your hands, stuff shells with cheese mixture, top with spinach mixture and pinch together to close shell somewhat- Place opening side up in a sauce covered baking pan. Top stuffed shells with a generous drizzle of sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Serve immediately.

++ It shows really beautifully if you top the stuffed shells with enough sauce to cover- but leaving a peak of the green spinach showing. Perfect colors for this holiday dish!

Anna Lisa’s Lasagna,


1 lb. Ground beef

½ lb. Ground pork

1 26 oz Jar Sauce Anna Lisa Pasta Sauce or your favorite, robust- store brand alternatively, homemade bolognese ( recipe listed below) makes an incredibly flavorful dish.

1 Box lasagna noodles or 14-16 freshly prepared pasta sheets.

4 Cups Mozzarella cheese ( divided more if desired or needed for topping)

¾ Cup Parmesan cheese

1 15 oz Container Ricotta Cheese

2 Eggs

¼ Cup fresh chopped parsley

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

Prepare boxed noodles as directed in well salted water. Undercook by about 3 minutes or until slightly firm texture is reached. Chill strained, cooked noodles under cold water set aside.

in medium saute pan brown ground beef and pork add 1 tablespoon italian seasoning. Stir to evenly combine. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine 2.5 Cups of mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, eggs and parsley.

In a 9 x13 baking pan, cover the bottom with pasta sauce and begin to layer noodles covering entire bottom of pan. Layer with cheese mixture, sprinkle another layer with meat, layer of sauce, and layer of noodles, layer of sauce, layer of cheese, layer of beef mixture and layer of noodle, layer one more with sauce and then cover with additional mozzarella cheese. 2 cups should cover entire dish but if you need more, use more, this is not the time to skimp. A cheesy top is paramount in lasagna. Cover with foil ( tent so that cheese isn’t touching top of foil or insert toothpicks to separate) and bake at 400 for 30 minutes removing the foil for the last 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Let stand for 10 - 15 minutes and cut and serve. Enjoy!!!

This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. It can also be well covered and frozen for up to 3 months. Note: if baking from frozen, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, removing foil for the last 10 minutes to brown top.

Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

1 Box manicotti shells prepared as directed

2 Cups mozzarella cheese

1 15 oz Container ricotta cheese

½ Cup Parmesan cheese

1 Egg

¼ Cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning

1 Jar of Robustly flavored pasta sauce such as Sauce Anna Lisa

¼ Cup heavy cream

Prepare noodles as directed ( undercook by about 3 minutes) rinse under cool water and set aside.

In mixing bowl combine Mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, egg, parsley, italian seasoning, mix until well combined.

in separate bowl add jar of sauce combine with cream and stir together to incorporate.

Stuff noodles with cheese mixture. It works best to stuff a little from each side and push in towards center. Cover the bottom of a baking pan with pasta sauce and place stuffed shells side by side, top to bottom, covering the pan. Drizzle pasta sauce over shells, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese, cover with foil and bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. Remove foil during the last 10 minutes. Bake until cheese and sauce are bubbly and hot. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Anna Lisa’s Authentic Italian Bolognese

++ This is an authentic meat filled pasta sauce option, great for any pasta dish such as lasagna, shells, or even a stand alone noodle.


1 lb. ground beef

½ lb. ground pork

2 carrots peeled and minced

2 celery stalks minced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium onion minced

1 Cup white or red wine

½ Cup cream or whole milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil and one knob of butter to coat pan

*One 24 oz. jar of Sauce Anna Lisa Pasta Sauce or another very robust, fresh, sauce.

Place a medium sized saucepan, over medium heat add a knob of butter and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Once the oil is hot add carrot, celery and onion and a pinch of salt, sauté about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté all ingredients together until fragrant. Add pork and ground beef and sauté until lightly browned. Add wine to deglaze pan and cook down until wine reduces- about 5 minutes. Once wine is reduced add Sauce Anna Lisa pasta sauce, cover and let sauce heat until bubbling. Add cream, stir and bring back to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste- if necessary.

The sauce can be served immediately or continue to slow cook as desired. The longer you cook it the more reduced the sauce will become- adding another layer of flavor with the more time you give.

Serving suggestions:

Layer with Lasagna noodles for an amazing Lasagna Bolognese.

Toss with rigatoni or mafalda pasta noodles (packaged noodles, prepared as directed)

Serve over a well-toasted chunk of your favorite crusty bread. It’s a meal by itself.

Serve over Steamed/roasted Broccoli or Cauliflower- The meaty Bolognese is amazing with almost any vegetable.