How to Make Stuffed Italian Pasta Shells

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Recipe for Italian Stuffed pasta shells

If you’re looking to make a very impressive Italian pasta meal, this is in the top 3 on my list hands down.  Italian stuffed pasta shells not only has a great appearance, but it is actually very easy to make – as you’ll see in my video below.

I like this recipe because it’s a nice variation from regular pasta, or lasagna and yet it uses much of the same ingredients – ricotta and pasta sauce.

How to Avoid Overcooking the Pasta Shells

One of the key aspects of this recipe is making sure not to over cook the pasta shells when you boil them.   You want to cook them about half way.  The time they spend in the oven baking will cause them to finish cooking the rest of the way.

As with all pasta bake recipes, it’s super important to make sure that there is no exposed pasta while baking.  You want it smothered in Italian sauce on top otherwise, the exposed parts will get hard and that’s not a good thing.

Pasta Shell Filling Options – I chose Spinach

In this recipe, I’ve included spinach as part of the filling.  You can choose to leave this out, but you’ll be surprised how many people like it this way. Spinach and ricotta go great together and they really go well with stuffed shells.  Mama mia it makes my mouth water even typing this!

Watch my short video below to see how simple this recipe truly is to make.  If I can do it, so can you!

Italian Stuffed Shells Recipe

A simple and easy to make Italian recipe!
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian Stuffed Pasta Shells
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 4-5 cups pasta sauce (about 32-40 oz)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bag thawed and drained frozen chopped spinach


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot, boil the shells until almost done. About 3/4 the recommended cooking time (approx 7 min.).
  3. Drain and cool with cold water.
  4. Mix the cheeses and spinach in a medium bowl.
  5. Fill each shell with the mixture.
  6. In a baking dish spread a heavy layer of sauce.
  7. Add the stuffed shells (open side up), cover liberally with sauce, and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until fully cooked and sauce is boiling.
  9. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

TIP #1: If you run out of room in your baking dish, layer the shells but spread a layer of sauce on top before adding the second layer of shells. TIP #2: Don't sweat exact measurements with the cheese. There is no one set method or recipe. Use what you have. TIP #3: Serve with a nice salad, or Italian green beans, and some garlic bread.

Kitchenware, Gadgets and Tools Recommended for Use in this Recipe:


How to Make Stuffed Italian Pasta Shells

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