This Stuffed Shells recipe is a fun and easy twist on my lasagna recipe and is always a huge hit! Jumbo shells stuffed with a cheese and spinach mixture and baked with a delicious homemade meat sauce.
Ingredients for Stuffed Shells:
- 16 jumbo shells
For the meat sauce:
- 85 % lean ground beef
- Red onion
- Olive oil
- Dry red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
- Store-bought marinara sauce
- Salt and pepper
For the cheese layer:
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Shredded mozzarella
- Chopped spinach
How to Make Stuffed Shells:
*Preheat oven to 375°
Boil the jumbo shells for 11 minutes, about 3 minutes short of fully-cooked. You don’t want them fully cooked because they would get mushy when baked in the oven.
Make the meat sauce: Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onions and ground beef, season with salt and pepper and sauteé about 5 minutes or until the beef is cooked through (no pink remains). Add the red wine and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Stir in the marinara and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, 10 more minutes or until ready to use.
Make the cheese mixture: Using a fork, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, eggs, and chopped spinach. Set aside.
Assemble the Pasta: Spray a 9 x 13″ glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the meat sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish. Arrange the shells in a single layer on top of the sauce. Fill each shell with about a spoonful of the cheese mixture or enough to fill the shell. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Optional: Sprinkle the top with more shredded mozzarella and set under the broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted.
To store leftovers: Cover with aluminum foil and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- 16 Jumbo pasta shells
For the meat sauce
- 1 lb. ground beef 85% lean
- ½ red onion chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ cup dry red wine*
- 2 cups store-bought or homemade marinara sauce
For the cheese mixture
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Boil the shells for 1-2 minutes less than the package directions, until slightly undercooked. Drain and set individually on a pan until ready to use.
Make the meat sauce
- While the shells cook, start preparing the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onions and ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is cooked through and no more pink remains, about 5 minutes.
- Add the red wine and simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced.
- Add the marinara and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Make the cheese mixture
- In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, eggs, and chopped spinach. Set aside.
Assemble the pasta
- Spray a 9 x 13" glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread the meat sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish.
- Arrange the shells in an even layer on top of the meat sauce.
- Use a spoon to stuff each of the shells with the cheese mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Optional: Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella and set under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is golden brown.