Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells

5 from 3 votes

A simple way to make delicious Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells. Ready in about 1 hour using simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.

italian stuffed pasta shells

I was hosting a get-together recently and decided to serve these Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells for dinner. How can you go wrong with pasta, cheese and meat baked in a casserole?

meat sauce for stuffed shells
Meat Sauce for Stuffed Shells

I will be the first to admit that I do not enjoy stuffing pasta shells. Not particularly difficult to make but I just don’t care to hold pasta in one hand while squeezing the cheese mixture into each one with the other hand.

cheese stuffed pasta shells in baking dish
Pasta Shells stuffed with Cheese Mixture

The easiest way I have found is to put the filling in a bag like you would with icing to decorate a cake and “squirt” a small amount of the mixture into each pasta shell. The first few might be a little weird but after that, it should go pretty quick.

stuffed shells covered in meat sauce
Stuffed Shells covered in Meat Sauce
beef icon

How to Handle Raw Beef

  • Thaw frozen ground beef on a plate on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator, to avoid dripping onto other foods.
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat meats separate.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw ground beef. Wash cutting boards, bowls, and utensils used to prepare raw ground beef with hot soapy water and rinse well.
  • Use separate plates to carry raw ground beef patties to the cooking area and cooked patties to the serving area.
  • Use a Thermometer to ensure Ground Beef Reaches the Safely Cooked Internal Temperature of 160°F.
Italian stuffed pasta shells fresh out of the oven
Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells Fresh out of the Oven

When making this recipe, it’s important to cook the pasta al dente to ensure to best texture possible. If you are not familiar with the term “al dente”, it means cooking the pasta so it’s still chewy and firm and that it will hold its shape when the sauce is added to it.

italian stuffed pasta shells

If you don’t have any ricotta cheese on hand, you can substitute it for some low-fat cottage cheese. You can also use some Ground Turkey or Ground Sausage in place of the Ground Beef.

Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells

If you want to make this pasta dish ahead of time, you can cover and freeze it after covering the pasta shells with the meat sauce. When you are ready to use, place the dish in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake until cheese is golden brown.

italian stuffed pasta shells

You must try my Cheesy Pasta Pie if you like making (and eating) pasta dishes.

What does better with a great pasta dish than some Cheesy Garlic Bread. This is the best garlic bread you will ever have!

You will need the following ingredients to make this Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells recipe (see recipe card for quantities): Ground Beef, Yellow Onion, Garlic Clove, Hot Water, Tomato Paste, Better than Bouillon Beef, Dried Oregano, Egg, Ricotta Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, Grated Parmesan Cheese and Jumbo Pasta Shells.

  1. In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta shells al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, onion, minced garlic until the meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Stir in the water, tomato paste, bouillon and oregano. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Stuff shells with cheese mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Arrange the stuffed shells in a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  6. Pour the meat sauce over the shells. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer.

Printable Recipe Card

Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells

Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells

A simple way to make delicious Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells. Ready in about 1 hour using simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Rodney
Servings 6
Calories 658 kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Skillet
  • Baking Dish (9 x 13)

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Cup Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Cups Water, hot
  • 12 oz Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Beef Flavor
  • 2 Tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 16 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded, divided
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 24 Jumbo Pasta Shells, cooked and drained

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta shells al dente according to directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, onion, minced garlic until the meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  • Stir in the water, tomato paste, bouillon and oregano. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Stuff shells with cheese mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Arrange the stuffed shells in a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Pour the meat sauce over the shells. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer.

Notes

→ If you want to make this pasta dish ahead of time, you can cover and freeze it after covering the pasta shells with the meat sauce. When you are ready to use, place the dish in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake until cheese is golden brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 658kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 41gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 155mgSodium: 1147mgPotassium: 1027mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1567IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 506mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional information provided for this recipe is based on 1 serving. This information is an estimate and may vary based on several factors. If nutritional information is important to you and your diet, please verify this recipe with a Registered Dietitian.

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One Comment

  1. Monica says:

    My family loved these Italian stuffed pasta shells. So delicious. I did put the filling in a pastry bag and it worked perfectly for me.

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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