This Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe couldn’t be easier to put together! Made with Ricotta, spinach, and Italian herbs and seasonings, they are luscious and comforting.
Classic Stuffed Shells are perfect for making ahead and are freezer friendly, so they’re great for stocking the freezer to enjoy at a later time. A winning combination of pasta, cheese, and classic marinara sauce!
I stuffed these shells with a mixture of Ricotta, Parmesan, spinach and Italian herbs, but you could mix things up and add in Romano cheese or other herbs if you like. Have some fresh herbs exploding in the garden? Throw those in instead!
Stuffed shells are perfect for gifting to a family with a new baby or someone else in need, as they are easy to make ahead, and the creamy, comforting filling makes this recipe a hit with everyone around the dinner table.
How do you make Stuffed Shells?
Stuffed shells are relatively easy to make if you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Here’s how it’s done:
- Make sure your shells are cooked only to al dente (or even a little less). If you overcook them, they will fall apart when you try to stuff them. A little firmer is essential, since they will be baked later.
- Use a piping bag or a large Ziploc bag with the tip cut off to fill your shells — this will get it done so quickly and with much less mess!
- Choose ingredients you like. If you don’t like basil, don’t add basil in. If you don’t like Ricotta, try cream cheese! Select a bottle of marinara with great taste and simple ingredients (or feel free to make homemade Marinara Sauce) because it’s going to add significant flavor to this recipe.
How long can you keep stuffed shells in the refrigerator?
Stuffed shells are perfect for dinner parties, busy weeknights and gifting to a new mom or family in the neighborhood because they can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.
You can fill and refrigerate these stuffed shells up to 24 hours in advance, provided all your ingredients are as fresh as they can be. Then, simply place in the oven and bake as usual.
Alternatively, you can cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and freeze up to 3 months.
Classic Stuffed Shells
- 24 jumbo pasta shells
- 475 grams extra smooth Ricotta cheese about 2 cups
- 225 grams frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta shells, reduce to a low boil, and cook just until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, and cool immediately by running under cold water.
- Stir together the Ricotta, spinach, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, parsley, basil, oregano and pepper. Place in a piping bag or large ziploc bag and snip the end off.
- Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick spray and spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Divide Ricotta mixture evenly between shells and place in prepared pan. You might have to squish a little to fit, that's okay.
- Top with remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly at the edges and cheese is melted. Serve.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)