Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe
When you’re ready to consume leftover pasta, you can either serve it cold straight from the fridge or reheat it using one of the techniques listed below. In the event that you are eating plain pasta without sauce, you may reheat it by placing it in a strainer and soaking it in boiling water for around 30–60 seconds. Leftover pasta and sauce can be cooked in the oven for roughly 20 minutes at 350°F (176°C) if they are stored in a heat-resistant dish. A pan on the stovetop over medium heat can also be used to cook the mixture through, while gently swirling the mixture to ensure it is properly heated.
If you wish to eat your pasta cold, as long as it has been adequately chilled at 40°F (4°C) and you consume leftovers within a reasonable amount of time, there is little chance of bacterial contamination.
Cooked pasta should be kept in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or below in an airtight container or resealable bag to prolong its shelf life and prevent it from becoming moldy.
There are many different types of pasta available, and they may be prepared from a variety of ingredients including wheat, lentils, and gluten-free grains.
It takes approximately 3–5 days for most cooked pasta to begin to exhibit indications of expiry in the refrigerator after it has been prepared.
Due to this, it is important to use correct handling, preparation, and refrigerator storage practices, as well as to consume your cooked pasta within a suitable time range.
How do you make stuffed shells?
Prepare the pasta shells by boiling them for a few minutes. Meanwhile, assemble the filling by combining ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, as well as spices and an egg, while the shells are baking. Fill each baked shell with the cheese mixture, using a spoon or a piping bag if desired. Fill the bottom of a baking dish halfway with marinara sauce, then place the shells on top of the sauce. More sauce should be poured over the shells, and mozzarella cheese should be sprinkled on top. Bake the pasta covered for 15 minutes, then uncover for another 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
Tips for the perfect pasta
- Keep in mind that the shells will continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes after they’ve been placed in the oven. I like full milk ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, but if you’re wanting to save a few calories, you may use half skim. Instead of using pre-shredded cheese, you may grate your own from scratch. In my experience, pre-grated cheeses purchased at the shop are often covered with anti-caking chemicals and preservatives, and so do not melt as easily. Make the preparations for this meal up to 8 hours before you intend to bake it. Wrap the dish in aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. It is possible that you may need to add an additional 10 minutes to the baking time to account for the cooled pasta. Select a high-quality jarred marinara sauce for your pasta. In general, I like the Newman’s Own or Classico brands.
Keep in mind that the shells will continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes after they’ve been placed in the oven. I like full milk ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, but if you’re wanting to save a few calories, you may substitute half skim cheese. Grating your own cheese is a healthier alternative to pre-shredded packs of cheese. In my experience, pre-grated cheeses purchased at the shop are often covered with anti-caking chemicals and preservatives, and so do not melt as smoothly. ; Make the preparations for this meal up to 8 hours before you intend to bake it.
When using refrigerated pasta, it is possible that you may need to add an additional ten minutes to baking time.
I usually go to the Newman’s Own or Classico brands when shaving.
- To add protein to the cheese mixture, crumble 8 ounces of cooked crumbled mince beef, Italian sausage, or ground turkey and stir it in. You might also experiment with shredded cooked chicken. Spinach, mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, or kale are some of the vegetables that can be added to the cheese filling up to 1 cup in quantity. Make certain that the veggies are properly chopped and cooked before adding them to the mixture. Sauce: Replace the marinara sauce with a creamy Alfredo sauce, or make a robust bolognese-style meat sauce in its place. In place of the three varieties of cheese I’ve described, you may substitute cream cheese, tiny curd cottage cheese, provolone, fontina, asiago, or romano
- Or a combination of the three.
Can you freeze stuffed shells?
Add 8 ounces of cooked crumbled mince beef, Italian sausage, or ground turkey to the cheese mixture and combine well. If you want to use cooked chicken, shred it first. Spinach, mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, or kale can all be added to the cheese mixture along with up to 1 cup of cheese. Prior to incorporating the veggies into the mixture, make sure they are finely chopped and well cooked. Sauce: Replace the marinara sauce with a creamy Alfredo sauce, or make a hearty bolognese-style meat sauce to replace it.
How long are stuffed shells good for?
In the refrigerator, stuffed shells will keep their freshness for up to 4 days, making them an excellent alternative for meal preparation. Baked shells can be stored in the pan with aluminum foil to keep them from drying out, or they can be transferred to an airtight container.
More pasta recipes you’ll love
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta, Baked Ziti, Chicken Spaghetti, Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Mushroom Pasta are some of the dishes on the menu.
Stuffed Shells Video
These stuffed shells are filled with three different varieties of cheese, then topped with marinara sauce and more cheese before being baked till golden brown. This traditional comfort meal recipe is perfect for serving a large group of people! Course MainCuisineItalianKeywordstuffed shells in a tomato sauce Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 30 min. 55 minutes is the total time allotted. Servings 6 calories488 kilocalories
- Boiled according to package specifications
- 24jumbo pasta shells 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups marinara sauce (split)
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Prepare a 9″x13″ baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce should be spread evenly around the bottom of the pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, the Italian seasoning, the egg, the salt, the pepper, and the parmesan cheese. To blend, stir the ingredients together. Make sure to fill each shell halfway with the ricotta mixture before placing them on the baking tray. Then top with the leftover marinara sauce and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Wrap the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Remove the pan from the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to color
- After that, garnish with parsley and serve
488 calories|35 grams of carbohydrates|30 grams of protein|26 grams of fat|15 grams of saturated fat|115 milligrams of cholesterol|1193 milligrams of sodium|630 milligrams of potassium|3 grams of fiber|7 grams of sugar|1460 international units (IU) of vitamin A|10 milligrams of vitamin C|561 milligrams of calcium|3 milligrams of iron
Classic Stuffed Shells – Make The Best Stuffed Shells For The Family
Stuffed Shells with Ricotta, three cheeses, and homemade marinara sauce are the classic dish to serve at any gathering or party. This recipe for filled shells is particularly cheesy and created with fresh herbs and garlic tastes to complement the cheese. The entire dish will take around 45 minutes to prepare, although the shells can be prepared ahead of time and stuffed. I usually advocate making your own Marinara Sauce, which can be done ahead of time with little effort on your part. Added sauce should be created so that you have enough to make some Homemade Lasagna as an extra treat.
So much warmth packed into a single simple pasta dish. Jumbo pasta shells are packed with a delectable three-cheese concoction consisting of ricotta cheese, shredded whole milk Mozzarella cheese, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, then baked until the cheese is melted. Fresh herbs, like as basil and parsley, are a great way to give the filling a little additional taste and texture. Don’t forget to add a pinch of oregano and a clove or two of fresh garlic. These delicious ricotta stuffed shells are baked in a delicious homemade marinara sauce, and they are really delicious.
Alternatively, you may add your favorite store-bought sauce to make it even more convenient.
Add a sprinkling of oregano to the top and bake until the mixture is hot and bubbling. In less than an hour, you’ll have genuine, comfortable bliss! PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER
HOW TO MAKE STUFFED SHELLS
To make filled shells, there are four essential procedures to follow: cook the pasta, prepare the ricotta filling, stuff the shells, and bake them. Preheat the oven to 350°F and gently coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Preparation Instructions: Cook the jumbo shells pasta according to the package directions until they are al dente. Because they will continue cooking in the oven, you want the shells to be just slightly undercooked when you cook them. Once the rice is done, drain it and leave it aside until it is cold enough to handle.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the ingredients for the filling.
- Using a fork, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients until they are uniformly distributed across the dish.
- Fill each shell with approximately 1.5-2 teaspoons of the ricotta filling and set it in the pan to bake.
- Instead, position shells seam up in the pan.
- Leftover shells should be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.
CAN STUFFED SHELLS BE MADE AHEAD?
Absolutely! Stuffed shells can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Prepare the giant shells and fill each shell with a spoonful of the ricotta filling. Using an airtight container or a baking dish that can be covered with plastic wrap, store them until needed. Make sure it’s tightly wrapped and put it in the refrigerator for a day or two. I wouldn’t advocate preparing the stuffed shells more than a day ahead of time, though. When done, place the shells in a baking dish, cover with marinara sauce, and top with Mozzarella cheese and herbs.
HOW TO FREEZE STUFFED SHELLS
When it comes to freezing packed shells, you have a few alternatives. It is possible to freeze it with or without the sauce. You may bake it right out of the freezer, or you can let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator for several hours beforehand. RECOMMENDATION: If you are intending on freezing the stuffed shells, prepare them in the baking dish lined with aluminum foil. This will make it simple to cover and freeze the dish before baking it.
To freeze stuffed shells without sauce:
Prepare the giant shells and fill each shell with a spoonful of the ricotta filling. Place the shells in an aluminum baking dish and place them in the freezer for approximately 2 hours. The shells should be placed in a big freezer zip-lock bag or an airtight freezer container with a cover once they have been frozen.
If using frozen shells, place them in a baking dish and top with Mozzarella cheese and fresh herbs when you’re ready to bake them. 30 minutes in the oven with a layer of aluminum foil covering the dish. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.
To freeze stuffed shells with sauce:
Even more straightforward is the process of freezing packed shells with sauce. To prepare the shells, line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Prepare the stuffed shells in accordance with the recipe, up to the point when they will be baked. Instead of baking it, cover it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. My recommendation is to wrap the pan twice, first with a layer of plastic wrap all around and then with a layer of aluminum foil all around before baking. Make it completely airtight.
Stuffed shells can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
If you are baking shells that have been frozen, remove them from the plastic wrap and cover the baking pan with a layer of aluminum foil.
Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
SOME MORE COMFORTING RECIPES TO TRY:
Mac and cheese prepared from scratch Penne with Roasted Garlic in the Oven Fettuccine with a Creamy Sauce Macaroni and Cheese in the Oven Gnocchi with Garlic and Butter Made in Minutes If you prepare any of my recipes and post them on Instagram, be sure to tag me @willcookforsmiles and willcookforsmiles so that I can see what you came up with! Connect with Will Cook For Smiles on social media! Make sure you click on the link below and subscribe to my social media accounts so that you never miss a dish.
PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER
- Jumbo shells (eight ounces) 18 shells, with a few more thrown in for good measure
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- A 15-ounce container of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 8-ounce container of shredded mozzarella cheese divided into half
- 1/2-cup container of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced parsleyfresh or dried
- 1 tablespoon minced basil fresh (or dried)
- 1 teaspoon dried (or dried) oregano
- Freshly cracked black pepper, 3 garlic cloves pressed
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and gently coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray
- TIP: Season the water that the pasta is cooked in to give it a more flavorful flavor. TIP: This recipe creates approximately 18 packed shells
- However, you should prepare 2-3 extra shells in case any of them split and break apart. Preparation Instructions: Cook the jumbo shells pasta according to the package directions until they are al dente. In order for the shells to complete cooking in the oven, you want them to be just little undercooked. Once the rice is done, drain it and leave it aside until it is cold enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining the ricotta cheese, egg, herbs, crushed garlic, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and seasoning in a mixing dish. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the filling. Using a fork, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients until they are uniformly distributed across the dish. (Reserve approximately a third of a cup of shredded Mozzarella for the topping.)
- Spread approximately 3 cups of marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spreading it evenly
- Each shell should be filled with around 1.5-2 teaspoons of ricotta filling before being placed in the pan. TIP: I don’t recommend placing shells seam down in the pan since the filling frequently seeps out of the shells. Instead, position shells seam up in the pan. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, depending on how much Mozzarella cheese and oregano you want to use on each shell.
Lyubov Brooke created all of the photos and writing for Will Cook For Smiles. Please do not use any of my photographs without first obtaining permission from me. If you include one of my blogs in a collection or feature, please provide a link back to this article so that others may get the recipe. Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is not guaranteed to be 100 percent correct due to the fact that most ingredients and brands have a little variance in their nutritional content. 454 kcal|39 g carbohydrates|27 g protein|21 g fat (12 g saturated fat)|Cholesterol: 98 mg|Sodium: 1085 mg|Potassium: 622 mg|Fiber: 3 g sugar: 6 g vitamin A: 1285 IU vitamin C: 9.9 mg calcium: 470 mg iron: 2.5 mcg calorie count Mention @willcookforsmiles and use the hashtag #willcookforsmiles in your post.
The most recent update was made on May 10, 2020.
Stuffed Shells Recipe (VIDEO)
Stuffed Shells with Ricotta cheese are the perfect meal, and they are a family favorite. Check out the video instruction to learn how simple it is to create filled pasta shells from scratch. It is possible that this content contains affiliate links.
Please review my disclosure policy. A lot of our favorite pasta dishes include creamy shrimp pasta, shrimp scampi pasta, and of course our Chicken Pesto Pasta (see recipe below). This Stuffed Shells Recipe is a must-try if you are a lover of pasta dishes.
Stuffed Shells Video Tutorial
Marinara Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to these stuffed giant shells, which are filled with ricotta and melty mozzarella cheese and served over a bed of the sauce. They are always gone in a flash and reheat beautifully. In the event that you loved this video for Stuffed Shells, please consider subscribing to our YouTube Channel (P.S. Click on the BELL button to be notified when a new video is posted).
What are Stuffed Shells?
Stuffed shells are comparable to Italian Manicotti or Cannelloni in appearance and flavour. Packed shells are large pasta shells that have been stuffed with a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Pasta shells make excellent pockets for stuffing since they are easy to fill.
How to Make Stuffed Pasta Shells
There are three basic components to this dish: the pasta, the sauce, and the cheese filling, but the preparation is straightforward.
- Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions in salted water until done. Prepare the Red Sauce by sautéing onions in oil until translucent, then adding garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. 3 cups of your favorite Marinara Sauce should be added at this point. Pour the sauce into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Cheese Sauce: In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, 2 cups shredded mozzarella, parmesan, 1 egg (beaten with a fork), salt, pepper, and oregano
- Set aside. Filling the Shells– The quickest and most accurate way to portion the cheese filling is to fill an ice cream scoop halfway with the filling and then transfer it into the shell. Over the pasta shells, scatter the remaining 1 cup mozzarella
- Serve immediately. Bake– Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes, then broil uncovered for 2-4 minutes until golden brown.
Where can I purchase large shell pasta? Jumbo shells may be found in most grocery shops, generally in the pasta section of the store. Keeping pasta shells from adhering together is a difficult task. Once the shells are cooked till al dente, drain the hot water and replace it with cold water to end the cooking process and prevent the pasta from sticking together. What exactly is al dente? Al dente refers to something that is firm to the biting. The majority of package directions will provide you with the exact cooking time for properly cooked al dente pasta.
Is it okay to use a glass casserole?
Because broiling is not suggested with glass bakeware, once the foil has been removed, increase the heat to approximately 475 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.
The ideal replacement for ricotta is simple cottage cheese, which should be drained and mashed.
In which stores do you find the largest shell pasta? Typically, jumbo shells may be found in the pasta section of most supermarkets. Keep spaghetti shells from sticking together by following these simple instructions. Upon reaching al dente status, drain the hot water and replace it with cold water to end the cooking process and prevent pasta from clinging to itself. Is Al dente a type of pasta? Firm to the bite denotes al dente. When it comes to al dente pasta, most package directions will tell you how long to cook it until it is properly done.
Will a glass casserole work for this purpose?
In order to avoid burning the glass bakeware, turn the oven up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.
Will ricotta work in its place?
- To Refrigerate: Assemble the shells, wrap them in aluminum foil, and place them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking them as directed, adding 5 minutes to the baking time if you are baking a chilled casserole. You may also refrigerate a lasagna that has been fully cooked and cooled. Frozen roll-ups: Place all of the ingredients in a casserole dish (without baking), cover securely with aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake for approximately 45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit from frozen (covered with aluminum foil). Microwave or bake pieces until roll-ups are cooked through and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
Tip for Microwaving: Drizzle a small amount of water over your meal to help it keep moisture.
Use of a plate cover is strongly recommended in order to prevent spatter. Making stuffed pasta shells is a straightforward process. Preparation time is low, and the oven takes care of the rest. It’s almost certain to get it onto your list of go-to dinners.
More Pasta Casseroles
Pasta bakes are the ideal sort of supper for a family to enjoy together. Each of these recipes prepares a large quantity of food, and each reheats very well, making them ideal for meal prepping.
- Pappardelle bakes are the ideal sort of dinner for a family to enjoy. For meal prep purposes, each of these recipes yields a large quantity of food, which reheats quite well.
Stuffed Shells Recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes Preparation time: 45 minutes Time allotted: 1 hour Shells stuffed with ricotta, parmesan, and melty mozzarella cheese are a classic Italian dish. Stuffed Pasta Shells are usually a hit since they are filling and reheat nicely. Natasha Kravchuk is a Ukrainian actress. Easy to learn skills Making it will cost you between $12 and $16. Italian stuffed shells (also called ricotta-filled shells, stuffed pasta shells, stuffed shells) Cuisine:Italian The Main Course is the first course in the sequence.
- Preparing the Pasta: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. To cook the shells, place them in a saucepan of salted water and cook until they are done (turning several times to keep the pasta from adhering to the pot), then drain them and fill the pot with cold water to finish the cooking process and prevent the shells from clinging to each other. Preparing the Sauce: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté chopped onion until softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes (3-5 min). Combine the minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon oregano in a mixing bowl. Continue to sauté for another 1 minute, stirring regularly, until the garlic is aromatic. Add 3 cups marinara and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low heat and simmer for 2 minutes before pouring the sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Cheese Filling: Combine 15 ounces ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large mixing dish. Stir until everything is well-combined. Fill the shells with approximately 1/2 of an ice cream scoop or until they are completely filled (do not overstuff). Place them in a single layer on top of the marinara sauce in the dish. Using the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, sprinkle it over the top. Preheat the oven to 350°F and cover with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling around the edges at this point. Remove the foil and place the cheese in the broiler for 2-4 minutes to gently brown it. To serve, remove the dish from the oven and decorate with parsley.
Nutritional Values Recipe for Stuffed Shells Amount Per Serving Calories435Calories from Fat 189 percent Daily Value*Fat21g32 percent Saturated Fat 13g Calories from Fat 189 percent Daily Value* 81 percent of the population 1 gram of trans fat Cholesterol103mg Sodium1542mg is 34% of the total. A total of 67 percent potassium (639mg) and 18 percent carbohydrate (32g) were consumed. 3g13 percent dietary fiber Sugar (78 percent) Protein (30 percent) 60 percent of the population Vitamin A (1414 IU) is an antioxidant.
Hello and welcome to my kitchen! Natasha’s Kitchen is my personal blog, and I am the author of the book Natasha’s Kitchen Cookbook (since 2009). My husband and I operate this site together, and we only share the recipes that have been tried and proven in our own homes with you. Thank you for taking the time to visit! We are overjoyed that you have arrived. Continue reading more posts by Natasha.
Stuffed Shells III
This is the third time I’ve cooked it, and I continue to like it. I’ve learned that if I make the filling first and keep it in the fridge for a few hours while preparing the rest of the ingredients, the filling gets firmer and SO much simpler and neater to stuff into the shells afterward.
Most helpful critical review
In this case, I’ll give it three stars because the recipe is an excellent starting point. When prepared according to the recipe directions, this yields enough shells for two trays of clams. This recipe, on the other hand, required more than a few tweaks. The following modifications were done by me. Instead of two teaspoons of salt, use one teaspoon. 4 ounces of parmesan cheese in total (two in the filling and two in the sauce). I made a substitution for the parsley by using Italian Seasoning.
Instead of mushrooms, I used Italian sausage for the mushrooms in the sauce.
With the modifications made, my fiancé declared that he could “eat himself into the hospital” by eating so many of the shells he had prepared with the modifications.
1216 people have rated this item.
- 5star ratings received: 801
- 4star ratings received: 324
- 3star values totaled 64
- 2star values totaled 13
- 1star values totaled 14.
This is the third time I’ve cooked it, and I continue to like it. I’ve learned that if I make the filling first and keep it in the fridge for a few hours while preparing the rest of the ingredients, the filling gets firmer and SO much simpler and neater to stuff into the shells afterward. This dish is a hit with my family!
- My three-year-old consumes shell after shell!
- In a large ziploc bag, I place the filling, seal the bag, cut a little slit in one of the bottom corners, and squeeze the filling into the shells – no mess!
- One is consumed immediately, while the other is placed in the freezer for later use.
- Read moreQuality comparable to a restaurant!
- I used lowfat ricotta cheese and just 3/4 cup mozzarella + 1/2 cup parmesan in the filling (adding 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and I would do that again), and skipped the cheese in the sauce, instead dusting a little parmesan on top after baking to make it look nice after baking.
- After baking, the sauce became too dry, so I’ll cover it with aluminum foil initially and remove it during the last 10 minutes or so of baking the next time.
- Continue readingAdvertisement In this case, I’ll give it three stars because the recipe is an excellent starting point.
This recipe, on the other hand, required more than a few tweaks.
Instead of two teaspoons of salt, use one teaspoon.
I made a substitution for the parsley by using Italian Seasoning.
Instead of mushrooms, I used Italian sausage for the mushrooms in the sauce.
With the modifications made, my fiancé declared that he could “eat himself into the hospital” by eating so many of the shells he had prepared with the modifications.
There was no comparison between this recipe and your typical authentic Italian stuffed shells that you can purchase at your local Italian deli (and my family has been in the industry for years), so it gets a thumbs up for that!
- There were a few of things I adjusted, and they turned out perfectly!
- I tweaked the recipe by adding a bit extra ricotta to taste in order to make it less cheesy while yet keeping it creamy.
- I created a standard handmade Italian tomato sauce for this dish.
- In addition, I did not make this meal seem like a deep dish piiza, as the recipe specifies.
Because my husband isn’t a fan of “meatless” dinners, I cooked around 1/2 pound of ground beef and mixed it into the spaghetti sauce before pouring it over the shells and serving.
- In addition, I omitted the mushrooms and used only around 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Continue readingAdvertisement HALF THE SALT IS SUFFICIENT!
- I made the mistake of not reading the reviews before creating my dish, which resulted in it being far too salty.
- I used Classico Italian sausage spaghetti sauce and threw in some mushrooms for good measure.
- I’d also make twice the sauce if I were you.
- I can’t conceive that one jar would be sufficient for the entire dish.
The filling for these shells is out of this world delicious.
- I didn’t make many changes, save for the fact that I used fresh parsley and added some fresh basil.
- Thank you very much for sharing the recipe!
- My spouse has attempted a number of various recipes, all of which have failed miserably.
- It only takes a few minutes of preparation time.
- I believe that was a little too salty, but it was still good.
- Thank you for a wonderful recipe!
Easy Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe
Making this dish for the third time has been a pleasure. If I make the filling first and put it in the fridge for a little while I prepare the rest of the ingredients, I’ve noticed that it gets firmer and SO much simpler to stuff into the shells. This dish is a big hit with my family.
- Every shell is devoured by my three-year-old.
- In a large ziploc bag, I scoop the filling, shut the bag, cut a small slit in one of the bottom corners, and squeeze the filling into the shells – no mess!
- One of them is consumed immediately, and the other is placed in the freezer for later consumption.
- Quality comparable to that of a restaurant.
- When I made this, I used lowfat ricotta cheese and just 3/4 cup mozzarella + 1/2 cup parmesan in the filling (adding 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and I would do that again), and I skipped the cheese in the sauce, instead dusting a little parmesan on top after baking to make it look nice.
- After baking, the sauce became too dry, so I’ll cover it with aluminum foil first and then remove it during the last 10 minutes or so of cooking.
- Advertisement Continue reading Because the recipe is a decent starting point, I’ll give this a three-star rating.
It was necessary to make significant changes to this recipe.
Instead of two tablespoons of salt, use one tablespoon.
When I ran out of parsley, I used Italian Seasoning.
Rather than include mushrooms in the sauce, I opted to include Italian sausage in it.
With the modifications made, my fiancé declared that he could “eat himself into the hospital” by eating so many of the shells he had prepared with the revisions described.
There was no comparison between this recipe and your typical authentic Italian filled shells that you can get at your local Italian deli (and my family has been in the industry for years), so that was a big plus.
- Some things were tweaked, and the results were fantastic!
- I tasted it and adjusted the amount of ricotta I used to make it less cheesy and more creamy, as desired.
- A standard handmade Italian tomato sauce was used in this recipe.
- In addition, I did not make this meal seem like a deep dish piiza, as it is described in the instructions.
Given that my husband is not a fan of “meatless” dinners, I cooked 1/2 pound of ground beef and mixed it into the spaghetti sauce before pouring it over the pasta shells.
- I also omitted the mushrooms and used only around 1/2 teaspoon of salt instead of the recommended 3/4 teaspoon.
- Advertisement Continue reading HALF THE AMOUNT OF SALT IS REQUIRED.
- I made the mistake of not reading the reviews before creating my dish, which resulted in it being much overseasoned.
- The Classico Italian sausage spaghetti sauce was used, and mushrooms were added for flavor.
- Definitely increase the amount of sauce used in this dish.
- There is no way one jar will suffice to make the entire dish.
The filling for these shells is out of this world delicious!
- Besides using fresh parsley and adding some fresh basil, I didn’t make any changes.
- We appreciate you sharing the recipe!
- All of the recipes my spouse tried turned out to be a complete disaster.
- A small amount of preparation is required.
- Despite the fact that I believe it was bordering too salty, Instead of 4 teaspoons of salt, I recommend using 1 teaspoon.
- It was a big hit with the family!
Ditch Your Weeknight Lasagna Routine For These Cheesy Easy Stuffed Pasta Shells!
This rich pasta dish, which is bursting with the typical aromas of Italy, is absolutely amazing. If you’ve never cooked stuffed shells before, trust us when we say they’re simple, tasty, and take little time to put together. Whatever your needs are, from frantic weeknights to a last-minute dinner party, they’ll be sure to please even the most difficult audience.
How Do You Make Stuffed Shells?
Pasta dishes have never failed to wow me, and these filled shells are certainly no exception. The classic mix of pasta, gooey melted cheese, and aromatic, herb-infused tomato sauce is simply exquisite and oh-so-comforting, and it’s one of my favorites. What’s the best part? This recipe for stuffed shells comes together quickly and easily in a few simple steps:
- Bring the shells to a boil. You want them to be a little soft but not overcooked because they’ll be baking in the oven after they’ve been stuffed
- Keep an eye on them while they’re cooking. In a large mixing bowl, combine the seasoned ground chicken, the cheese, the basil, and the spinach
- Fill the giant pasta shells with the prepared sauce and place them in a casserole dish
- Choose your favorite pasta sauce and ladle it generously over the stuffed shells.
It was at my localFred Meyer Store that I discovered the Private Selection brandtomato sauce (the Basilico TomatoBasil Sauceis my personal favorite!) that we would be utilizing in this recipe! My appreciation for the fact that this intensely fragrant tomato sauce is created from an actual recipe and that it contains high-quality components such as fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic is well-founded.
What Makes These the Best Stuffed Pasta Shells?
Although some may consider me insane, I have been giving my children pasta using ground chicken rather than the more customary ground beef for years. Not everyone I’ve given it to has been a fan as much as I am, but my children will not eat it any other way than the way I prepare it. I enjoy how tender ground chicken can be (when properly seasoned), and I appreciate that chicken is a little more nutritious than beef. Stuffed into a pasta shell with creamy cheese and a generous amount of sauce, you’ve got a match made in heaven!
- Italian herbs, fennel seed, and garlic infuse the ground chicken with a plethora of flavor, and the recipe comes together beautifully. Following that, there will be not one, but two types of cheese! In this filled shell dish, mozzarella reigns supreme for its stringy, gratifying gooey cheese pull, while creamy ricotta adds another layer of delicate, pillowyness by way of its pillowy texture. Fresh basil brightens the entire dish and lends a sense of summertime lightness to the overall presentation. There’s nothing quite like the flavor of fresh basil—I prefer to use it frequently and throughout the year, if at all feasible
- We cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to use a high-quality pasta sauce in order to provide an extra punch of flavor to your dish. Selection on a private basis Basilico TomatoBasil Sauce is a must-have
Tips For Making These Cheesy Stuffed Shells a Success:
Even though filled shells might seem overwhelming at first glance, they are actually a delicious and simple dinner that is perfect for the whole family or even a small gathering of friends. This will be the most lauded dish you’ve prepared all year:
- Season the pasta water with salt. Always! Not enough emphasis can be placed on the fact that you want the water in which you boil your pasta shells to be as salty as the sea. Preparing your big pasta shells for one minute shorter than the package directions is recommended. To ensure that they continue to soften while baking beneath all of the cheese deliciousness, you want them to be slightly undercooked. Pipe the filling into the shells using a big ziplock bag with one corner trimmed off to make it easier to handle. This will assist to ensure that the shells maintain their form, as well as save you time and keep your kitchen tidy. You are not have to measure the filling precisely, but a decent rule of thumb is to aim for around two teaspoons of filling per pasta shell. Make use of high-quality ingredients. When combined with fresh basil and Fred Meyer’s Private Selection Basilico TomatoBasil Sauce, this meal will shine even brighter than before—you will notice the difference right away.
More Jarred Pasta Sauce Recipes.
It’s a cozy evening dinner that we enjoy serving any time of year, but with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we have big plans for these cheese filled shells that we’re excited to share with you today. If you believe that a hearty pasta meal might put you in the mood for romance, here are a few of our other recommendations:
- One-Pot Creamy Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
- Rigatoni with Mushroom Sauce
- Baked Penne Alla Vodka
Tools You’ll Need:
- A big skillet, a large bowl, a cheese grater, and a 9 x 13 pan are all needed.
Stuffed Shells Success Story?
Is it possible for you to tell us about your experience making these simple filled shells? Post a photo on Instagram with the hashtags @themodernproper and themodernpropers so that we may join you in celebrating your dinner victory. Enjoy your meal. This sponsored post was written by TMP on behalf ofFred Meyer in collaboration withKroger, and it is available here. All of the thoughts and text on this page are our own. Thank you for your continued support of the companies we like.
Easy Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Ground chicken, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, 3 tablespoons salt, 2 garlic cloves, minced. Ingredients: 1lb ground chicken 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 tablespoon salt 2 garlic cloves, minced 15 ounces 16 ounces of ricotta cheese Mozzarella cheese, grated
- 12 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 6 basil leaves, julienned
- 2 cups tomato sauce 3 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 12-oz boxJumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente
- 1 24-oz jarPrivate selection tomato sauce (about 3 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. A large pan over high heat should be used to sear the chicken, garlic, Italian seasoning, fennel, and salt, until the liquid has evaporated. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked chicken, ricotta, 2 12 cups mozzarella, the parmesan, the basil, and the spinach
- Mix well. Fill each (al dente) shell with 2 heaping teaspoons of the chicken/cheese mixture
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Fill the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with a small amount of sauce. Place the shells on the sauce, meat side up, and then cover with the remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese
- Repeat. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.
- 548 calories
- 45 grams of protein
- 42 grams of carbohydrates
- 20 grams of total fat
- 3 grams of dietary fiber
- 101 milligrams of cholesterol
- 1249 milligrams of sodium
- 4 grams of total sugars
- There are 8 servings in total, with each serving containing 548 calories.
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The Best Stuffed Pasta Shells
The greatest stuffed pasta shells are loaded with ground beef, three different varieties of cheese, and a secret ingredient that provides plenty of flavor without being too obvious.
As an accompaniment to the quick filled shells dish, serve a salad and garlic bread for a delightful, make-ahead meal. Why this 5-star recipe was chosen to be published in Taste of Homemagazine is going to become clear to you!
How to Make Stuffed Shells | 1-Minute Video
A pan of stuffed pasta shells, each filled with ricotta and ground beef and then covered in meat sauce before being sprinkled with additional cheese, doesn’t get much cozier than this. These Italian filled shells, which are similar to a classic lasagna dish, have been a favorite in American families for decades! Here’s why this dish is a hit with everyone, from youngsters to grandparents:
- In order to save time during baking, the ricotta packed shells can be made ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated until needed. To speak about convenience, this recipe makes a huge amount that serves eight people, making it ideal for hosting guests. It’s OK to divide the stuffed shells between two 8-inch baking plates and freeze one for later use if you’re serving a smaller group of people. With a single effort, you can prepare two meals. That’s fantastic
- The secret ingredient – pesto – infuses the ricotta and ground beef mixture with loads of flavor. There will be no boring filled shells here
Are you still not convinced? Before we get to the recipe, let us first address a few often asked questions.
What are Stuffed Shells?
Using Jumbo Shells pasta, which are loaded with a variety of ingredients and baked in a casserole dish with sauce and cheese, this Italian-inspired recipe comes together quickly. Fillings for filled shells include beef and ricotta, spinach and cheese stuffed shells, chicken stuffed shells with spinach and Alfredo, and sausage and cheese stuffed shells, among other variations.
What’s the difference between Stuffed Shells and Manicotti?
Despite the fact that these two Italian filled pasta meals are very similar, there are a few key distinctions between them. Manicotti, which literally translates as “little muffs,” are huge tubes of pasta that are intended to be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Stuffed shells, on the other hand, are cooked withconchiglioni pasta, which is a bigger form ofconchiglie, which is Italian for “conch shells.” The giant shells are characterized by thin ridges that are closely spaced and are often loaded with a combination of meat, cheese, and vegetables, among other things.
An outline of the items that you’ll need for the greatest filled pasta shells dish may be found here in a few minutes. In the printed recipe box at the foot of the post, you’ll find exact measurements as well as step-by-step directions for making the dish.
- Jumbo pasta shells: I usually boil the full 12-ounce package of jumbo pasta shells, but you will most likely not need all of them. It all depends on how full you load each shell and how firmly you pack them into the baking dish to achieve the desired result. As a rule, some shells can crack or rupture during the cooking process, therefore it’s a good idea to have spares. Adding ground beef to the ricotta filling and the sauce gives them a robust texture as well as a terrific taste. You may also use Italian sausage or ground turkey in place of the ground beef. Onion: to add a layer of delicious taste
- The shredded Italian cheese blend is mixed into the mixture and sprinkled on top of the dish. The rich, creamy texture of the filling is provided by the ricotta cheese. If you like, cottage cheese can be substituted
- However, please see my comments below for additional information on how to make this substitution. Grated Parmesan cheese: I love freshly grated Parmesan cheese, but pre-grated parmesan straight from the container works just as well in this recipe
- The egg provides rigidity to the filling, preventing it from oozing out of the shells. Pesto: the “hidden” ingredient that infuses the filling with a delicious garlic and basil taste thanks to the presence of pesto. You may make your own pesto or purchase a jar of pre-made pesto at your local grocery store in the aisle with the other jars of pasta sauces
- Both options are delicious. Use a homemade marinara sauce or use a jar of store-bought marinara sauce for a convenient shortcut.
How to Make Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Meat
While there are a few steps involved in assembling these stuffed pasta shells, I can promise you that they are well worth the extra time spent in the kitchen. Furthermore, they are quite simple to create – if you can brown ground beef and cook some pasta, you can easily produce this dish!
- Cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water until they are al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water
- Ground beef and onion are browned in a pan, then the fat is drained off. Combine the ricotta filling ingredients
- Combine the beef sauce ingredients
- Shells filled with ricotta
- Stuffshells filled with spinach
- Prepare a 13 x 9-inch baking dish by arranging the packed shells. Spread the meat sauce on top of it. grate some cheese on top
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the filling is heated.
What to Serve with Stuffed Pasta Shells
When it comes to supper, filled shells combine well with a variety of dishes. Here are a few simple suggestions to get you started:
- A crusty loaf of no-knead Dutch oven bread, garlic breadsticks, garlic bread, handmade focaccia, or a crusty loaf of garlic bread
- Green salad with red wine vinaigrette or Caesar salad are both good options. Cauliflower roasted with parmesan and parmesan cheese
- Sautéed asparagus
- Italian sugar snap peas (2-ingredient recipe)
- Sautéed spinach with garlic
- Sautéed zucchini
- Roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese
How many Stuffed Pasta Shells Per Person?
I normally estimate that each individual will require 2 to 3 shells. Others with larger appetites may prefer 4, while those with lower appetites may choose 2. This recipe makes around 20-22 filled shells with a robust beef sauce, and it serves approximately 6-8 people on average.
In an airtight container in the refrigerator, baked packed pasta shells can keep for up to 2-3 days after being cooked.
How to Reheat Stuffed Shells
Allow the dish to remain on the counter for approximately 1 hour to allow it to come to room temperature before reheating.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 350°F oven until it is barely heated throughout (about 20-30 minutes). If you want to reheat individual servings in the microwave for around 1 minute, you may do so as well.
How to Freeze Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells with ground beef are the great freezer supper for those who want to prepare ahead of time. If you want to prepare the casserole ahead of time, simply put everything together in a baking dish (but do not bake). Wrap the dish securely in aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours; alternatively, if freezing, wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
How to Cook Frozen Stuffed Shells
The stuffed shells can either be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight (and then baked according to recipe instructions) or baked directly from the freezer at 350°F for about 60-70 minutes when you are ready to bake them when you are ready to bake them (or until heated through). Make sure to remove the aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking to enable the cheese to brown on top!
- This recipe makes a large amount that serves eight people, making it ideal for entertaining. For a smaller group of people, you may divide the stuffed shells between two smaller 8-inch baking plates and freeze one for later use. Instead of ground beef, substitute roughly 1 pound of ground Italian sausage, or turkey, or ground chicken. It is possible to prepare these mouthwatering filled shells without using ricotta by substituting cottage cheese. To avoid having a watery filling if you are using cottage cheese, I recommend squeezing off part of the liquid prior or using whipped cottage cheese instead. Cooked spinach can be added to the filling. Just make sure that you wring the spinach extremely dry before mixing it into the ricotta mixture, or else it will dilute the flavor of the meal significantly.
Tips for the Best Stuffed Shells Recipe
- Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Take advantage of the fact that this is your one and only opportunity to season the pasta itself
- Don’t be afraid to season generously. As a result, you only need to cook the pasta shells until they are almost al dente, because they will continue to cook in the oven. Ideally, you don’t want your pasta to be overcooked and mushy. For a colorful finishing touch, garnish the shells with fresh herbs such as parsley or basil.
More Italian-Inspired Dinner Recipes to Try
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Dump-and-Bake Meatball Casserole
- Homemade Meatballs
- Easy Spaghetti Carbonara
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Baked Meatballs
- Homemade Lasagna
- Baked Rigatoni
- Ravioli Lasagna
The Best Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe
Stuffed pasta shells made with ground beef, three varieties of cheese, and a secret ingredient that adds plenty of flavor are the greatest! Cooking CourseDinnerCuisineItalianKeywordsGround Beef Recipes, stuffed pasta shells, Stuffed Shells Recipe, stuffed shells with meat, Stuffed Shells with Ricotta, Stuffed Shells with Ricotta Preparation time: 30 minutes Preparation Time40 minutes Time allotted: 1 hour and 10 minutes Nutritional Information: Servings8 persons, 446 kcal
- 1 (twelve ounce) package of Jumbo pasta shells 2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, divided (you can substitute shredded mozzarella cheese)
- 1 (15 ounce)container ricotta cheese
- 12 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1(24 ounce)jar marinara sauce
- 1 egg
- 14 cup pesto
- 1(24 ounce)jar marinara sauce. 1lb.ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey, ground Italian sausage, or ground chicken). Garnishes are optional and include finely chopped fresh parsley or basil.
- Prepare pasta shells according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water until they are tender. Preheat oven to 350°F. Drain and rinse well with cold water. In the meantime, cook the ground beef and onion in a large pan over medium-high heat until well browned. Allow to cool somewhat before incorporating into the filling
- Drain off fat
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 12 cups of the shredded Italian blend cheese, all of the ricotta cheese, all of the Parmesan cheese, the egg, the pesto, and half of the beef and onion combination. Remove from consideration
- Using 34 cup of the marinara sauce, cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining marinara sauce and the remaining half of the meat and onion combination until well combined. Remove from consideration
- Fill the pasta shells with the ricotta mixture once they have been cooked and cooled. Place the shells in a baking dish and top with the marinara sauce mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Cover the casserole with aluminum wrap and sprinkle the remaining 12 cup of Italian cheese mixture over the top. Preheat the oven to 300°F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Depending on your preference, garnish with fresh parsley or basil. Serve
- Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Take advantage of the fact that this is your one and only opportunity to season the pasta itself
- Don’t be afraid to season generously. As a result, you only need to cook the pasta shells until they are almost al dente, because they will continue to cook in the oven. Ideally, you don’t want your pasta to be overcooked and mushy. For a colorful finishing touch, garnish the shells with fresh herbs such as parsley or basil. This recipe makes a large amount that serves eight people, making it ideal for entertaining. For a smaller group of people, you may divide the stuffed shells between two smaller 8-inch baking plates and freeze one for later use. Instead of ground beef, substitute roughly 1 pound of ground Italian sausage, or turkey, or ground chicken. It is possible to prepare these mouthwatering filled shells without using ricotta by substituting cottage cheese. To avoid having a watery filling if you are using cottage cheese, I recommend squeezing off part of the liquid prior or using whipped cottage cheese instead. Cooked spinach can be added to the filling. Just make sure that you wring the spinach extremely dry before mixing it into the ricotta mixture, or else it will dilute the flavor of the meal significantly.
a serving of one-eighth of the casserole|calories 446kcal|carbohydrates 21g|protein 35g|fat 23g|saturated fat 12 g|cholesterol 116mg|salt 714mg|potassium 357mg|fiber 1g|sugar 2g|vitamin A 705IU|vitamin C 2.2 mg|calcium 494mg|iron 2.2 mg|nutrients vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium This recipe was first published in December of 2013 and has since been updated. The most recent revision was made in November of 2021.
Spinach Stuffed Shells Are the Coziest Fall Pasta Dish
Credit: Photo courtesy of Eric Kleinberg; food styling courtesy of Kristina Vanni Served with a cheesy filling, these filled shells are the ultimate in comfort food. A decadent blend of ricotta and mozzarella, as well as garlicky sautéed spinach, are baked in a bath of marinara sauce and gooey cheese before being served warm. You may serve them with a simple green salad and a glass of your favorite Italian red wine for a supper that is guaranteed to please everyone.
What’s the Difference Between Stuffed Shells and Manicotti?
Despite the fact that both stuffed shells and manicotti are cheesy-filled Italian pastas, they are rather distinct from one another.
- Stuffed Shells: The name says it all: Stuffed shells are stuffed with a variety of ingredients. Par-boiled jumbo pasta shells are packed with cheese and baked till golden brown (usually ricotta and mozzarella). Occasionally, spinach (as in this case) or ground beef are added to the dish. Using a baking dish, arrange the shells in a row and fill with tomato sauce and cheese before baking. Rather of shells, long pasta tubes known as manicotti are par-boiled and then stuffed with various fillings. Everything about these stuffed shells (including the contents, tomato sauce, and cheese on top) is the same as stuffed shells. Here’s how to get a recipe: Manicotti with beef and cheese
Credit: Photo courtesy of Eric Kleinberg; food styling courtesy of Kristina Vanni
Can I Use Frozen Spinach?
Yes, you can totally use frozen spinach to fill these shells with risotto sauce. According to your preference, you can use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach in this recipe. For frozen spinach, defrost it according to package directions, transfer it to a clean kitchen towel, wrap it up and press out as much moisture as you can from it before serving. Then, toss it in a pan with the garlic and red pepper flakes that have been sautéed to warm it up and evaporate any extra moisture.
Can I Freeze Stuffed Shells?
Yes! Stuffed shells keep especially well in the freezer. I recommend chilling the shells before baking them since baking the shells, freezing them, and then reheating them might cause them to dry out. Stack the shells in a baking dish or aluminum pan and top with sauce and cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and freeze for up to two months, or until needed. If you wish to bake the shells from frozen, put the baking dish in the refrigerator the night before you want to serve them so that they may defrost gradually.
Fresh or frozen spinach may be used to make these cheesy vegetarian filled shells, depending on what is most convenient for you.
- 1 package (10-ounce) frozen chopped spinach
- 10ouncesbaby spinach (about 10 cups), or 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
- 3 clovesgarlic
- 12 ounceslow-moisture whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
- 1 ounceParmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup firmly packed on a Microplane or 1/3 cup store-bought)
- 3 tablespoonssolive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 heaping cups of whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (about 24-ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 6 ounces dry jumbo pasta shells (approximately 20)
- 1 (approximately 24-ounce) jar marinara sauce (approximately 20)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Prepare 10 ounces of frozen spinach according to the package guidelines before adding to the recipe. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all of the extra moisture
- 3 garlic cloves should be minced. Using the big holes of a box grater, grind 12 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese until it is fine (about 3 cups). Grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (approximately 1/2 packed cup) to a fine consistency. Prepare a big saucepan of salted water by bringing it to a boil. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a big high-sided pan over medium heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Cook for approximately 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes are aromatic. Fresh baby spinach can be used in place of frozen, but it should be added a few handfuls at a time and stirred until almost wilted, about 5 minutes. In the event that you are using frozen spinach, simply add it to the pan and simmer while turning regularly until the liquid has completely evaporated, around 2 minutes. 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt should be added to the dish. Remove from the fire and allow it cool slightly while you prepare the shells for parboiling. Cook 6 ounces big pasta shells until just al dente, about 9 minutes, or according to package guidelines, in a large pot of boiling water until the shells are barely al dente. Using the sieve, drain the vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil while still in the strainer to coat. Into the pan of spinach, whisk in 15 to 16 ounces ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, until well combined. A 9×13-inch baking dish should have 1 cup of marinara sauce from a 24-ounce container on the bottom. Fill each shell with a big spoonful (approximately a heaping tablespoon) of the ricotta mixture and arrange them in the dish so that the filling is on the bottom. Spread the remaining 2 cups marinara sauce over the shells and top with the remaining 2 cups mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses
- Serve immediately. Bake for about 30 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is boiling, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow for 5 minutes of cooling on a wire rack before serving.
Prepare ahead of time: The shells may be built and refrigerated unbaked up to 2 days ahead of time, or they can be frozen for up to a month in advance. Before baking, allow the frozen shells to come to room temperature overnight in the refrigerator. 20 minutes at 375°F covered with aluminum foil, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sauce has bubbled. Storage:Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days if they are kept in an airtight container.
The author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food, Sheela is a Senior Contributing Food Editor at Kitchn and the author of Mediterranean Every Day.