Stuffed Shells recipe

Looking for a comforting and flavorful dish to elevate your lunch or dinner? Look no further than these delightful Stuffed Shells! Tender jumbo pasta shells are filled to the brim with a rich and creamy mixture of ricotta cheese, spinach, and savory seasonings, then baked to perfection in a blanket of marinara sauce and gooey melted cheese. Whether you’re cooking for family or entertaining guests, these stuffed shells are sure to impress with their delicious flavors and satisfying textures.

Let’s dive into the recipe and discover how to create this culinary masterpiece:


  • 18-20 jumbo pasta shells, boiled until just under al dente
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb ground beef (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 24 oz marinara sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare Filling:
    • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.
    • Add fresh spinach to the skillet and toss to coat with oil and garlic. Cook until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, egg, salt, pepper, basil, parsley, and oregano. Mix well.
    • Fold in the cooked spinach and cooked ground beef (if using), combining everything evenly.
  3. Assemble Stuffed Shells:
    • Spread half of the marinara sauce evenly on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish or a round 12-inch oven-safe skillet.
    • Using a spoon, stuff each cooked pasta shell with the spinach and cheese mixture, then arrange them in the baking dish over the marinara sauce.
  4. Bake:
    • Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed shells.
    • Sprinkle the remaining grated Parmesan cheese and some mozzarella cheese over the top.
    • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
    • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  5. Serve: Once baked, garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot with your choice of side, such as cheesy garlic bread.

Why You’ll Love It:

  1. Irresistible Flavor: These stuffed shells are packed with delicious ingredients like creamy ricotta cheese, flavorful spinach, and savory seasonings. Each bite bursts with a perfect balance of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.
  2. Comforting and Satisfying: There’s something inherently comforting about a hearty pasta dish, and these stuffed shells deliver just that. The combination of tender pasta, creamy filling, and rich marinara sauce creates a meal that’s both satisfying and comforting, perfect for a cozy lunch or dinner.
  3. Versatile: This recipe is incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit your preferences. You can add ground beef for extra protein or swap out the spinach for other greens like kale or Swiss chard. Feel free to get creative and make it your own!
  4. Easy to Make: Despite its impressive appearance, this dish is surprisingly easy to make. With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, even beginner cooks can whip up a batch of delicious stuffed shells with ease.
  5. Perfect for Sharing: Whether you’re hosting a casual gathering with friends or enjoying a cozy meal with family, these stuffed shells are a perfect option for sharing. They can be prepared in advance and baked when needed, making them ideal for entertaining.
  6. Leftovers Reheat Well: If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, these stuffed shells taste just as delicious reheated the next day. Simply pop them in the microwave or oven until warmed through for a quick and easy meal.
  7. Crowd-Pleaser: From picky eaters to die-hard pasta lovers, these stuffed shells are sure to please everyone at the table. With their irresistible flavor and satisfying texture, they’re guaranteed to become a family favorite in no time.

How to store it:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover stuffed shells to cool down to room temperature before storing. Once cooled, transfer them to an airtight container or wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: If you want to freeze the stuffed shells for longer storage, it’s best to freeze them before baking. Prepare the stuffed shells up to the point of assembly, then cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Label the dish with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the stuffed shells in the refrigerator overnight, then bake according to the recipe instructions.
  3. Reheating: To reheat refrigerated stuffed shells, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). If the stuffed shells are in a baking dish, cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the tops from burning. Reheat in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. If reheating individual portions, you can also use the microwave on medium power, stopping to stir occasionally, until warmed to your liking.
  4. Storage Tips: Make sure to label the storage container or dish with the date before refrigerating or freezing. When reheating frozen stuffed shells, it’s best to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight rather than using the microwave for thawing, as this ensures even thawing and reduces the risk of uneven cooking.

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