This Stuffed Shells recipe is a fun and easy twist on my lasagna recipe and is always a huge hit! Jumbo pasts shells are stuffed with a cheese mixture and smothered with a delicious homemade meat sauce.
This recipe for stuffed shells is a quick and easy twist on lasagna that is saucy, cheesy, and hands-down delicious. Every time I make this my family devours it!
Stuffed Shells Ingredients:
Jumbo pasta shells: For a 9 x 13″ casserole dish you will need about 20-25 shells, boil more than you will need because there are always a few that get broken.
For the homemade meat sauce:
- Olive oil
- 80% lean ground beef
- Red onion
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Balsamic vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Dry red wine
- Salt & pepper
For the cheese mixture:
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Shredded mozzarella
More shredded mozzarella for topping.
How to Make Stuffed Shells:
Preheat your oven to 375°.
Start by boiling the shells. You will want to boil them a few minutes short of the package directions since they will continue to cook in the oven. Arrange the cooked shells in a single layer on a pan lined with parchment paper while you make the rest of the ingredients.
Next, make the homemade meat sauce. Start by heating olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the chopped onion and ground beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the beef as you do. Continue to cook until the beef is cooked through and no more pink remains. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute. Then, stir in the tomato paste and tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and dry red wine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and then reduce to a simmer.
Make the cheese mixture: In a medium bowl stir together ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, eggs, and pepper.
Assemble: Spray a 9 x 13″ glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread half of the meat sauce evenly in the bottom of the dish. Add the shells in a single layer, fill with the cheese mixture and spread the rest of the meat sauce over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then remove from the oven, spread more shredded mozzarella over the top and bake for another 10 minutes.
To stuff the shells: You can use a spoon to gently fill each of the shells with the cheese mixture. Or to make things a lot easier, add the filling into a large plastic bag or piping bag and pipe the filling into each shell.
More Saucy Dinner Favorites:
- 1 - 12 oz. package Jumbo pasta shells
For the meat sauce
- 1 lb. ground beef, 80 - 85% lean
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. dry red wine
For the cheese mixture
- 1 and ½ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, *plus more for topping
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook the shells in boiling salted water for 9 minutes, they should be slightly undercooked. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. You will only need about 25 or so shells, but cook extra in case some of them break.
Make the meat sauce:
- While the shells cook, start preparing the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the chopped onions and ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Break up the beef and cook until no longer pink.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and dry red wine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce to a simmer over low heat.
Make the cheese mixture:
- In a medium bowl stir together ricotta, mozzarella, eggs, and pepper.
Assemble the pasta:
- Spray a 9 x 13" casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread half of the meat sauce evenly in the bottom of the dish.
- Arrange the shells in an even layer on top of the meat sauce.
- To stuff the shells with the cheese mixture you can either use a spoon to gently fill each shell or - add the cheese mixture into a large plastic bag and cut a small opening to pipe the filling in that way.
- Spread the rest of the meat sauce over the tops of the shells.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the top with more shredded mozzarella. Bake for another 10 minutes.
- Top with chopped fresh basil if desired and serve warm.