Stuffed Pasta Shells

I loved these as a kid and they are still a great classic dinner. This is a really simple recipe that works well on a weeknight. You could also make these ahead of time and store in the fridge prior to baking.

*Turkey or veggie crumbles can easily be substituted for the beef. You could also add any fresh herbs you have on hand to the sauce; basil and oregano would be good choices.


  • 12 oz. dried jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • S/P
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans peeled tomatoes – don’t drain! (I like Muir Glen Organic whole peeled tomatoes with basil)
  • 1 (15 oz.) carton ricotta cheese (I used reduced-fat, but any will do)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more to top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and a 3-quart baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add shells and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain pasta and spread on a baking sheet to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the beef and 2 cloves garlic. Season with S/P. Cook until no pink remains. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Wipe the skillet clean and combine the remaining olive oil, garlic, and undrained tomatoes. Season with S/P. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as the sauce cooks.
  5. Stir 1 and 1/2 cups tomato sauce into the ground beef, add ricotta and 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir to combine.
  6. Spoon a small layer of tomato sauce into the prepared baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with about 1 tbsp. meat mixture. Arrange shells in the prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over shells and top with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake about 30 minutes, until heated through and top is golden brown.

Serves: 6-8

Recipe Source: Original

Time: ~1 hour