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The Best Ever Stuffed Shells Recipe

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

Best Ever Stuffed Shells Recipe

Best Ever Stuffed Shells Recipe

So the first time I had this dish it was Thanksgiving 2011 at my husband's parents house. Both his mother and his grandmother made their own version (we have a pretty big family, lol) for dinner and so everybody got a little of both.

We fell in love! No more lasagna for us. We had tried so many different recipes. Mine was too plain, without much flavor, and nothing different than any other lasagna. My husband made one with a lot of flavor, but a lot of cheddar cheese, that left it swimming in grease.

The stuffed shells was definitely a winner! It had everything we wanted in lasagna and nothing we didn't. Our favorite part was the overwhelming amount of cheese in this dish; the most important part!

Even better, we could change it up to make it our own. His mother had used hamburger in her stuffed shells, and his grandmother had used sausage. Although they were both delicious, we decided to make our with no meat at all. That way we could simply delight in the cheese (or at least I could).

This dish has made it onto our short list for dinner parties when we invite guests over, along with our delectable Crock Pot Pot Roast. It just doesn't get too much better than this, and it's so incredibly easy to make, it's perfect.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

1 hour 30 min

2 hours

Serves about 12 people (3 to 4 shells each)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, fill about halfway to three-quarters full with water, sprinkle generously with water, place on the stove and boil at medium-high heat.
  2. When boiling, dump the entire box of jumbo shells into the water and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Check your shells periodically so you can remove them when they are fully cooked.
  4. You will want to pull them out just a tad bit early, because you want them firm enough to stuff, and not soft enough that they stick together.
  5. In the meantime, beat your egg in a large bowl.
  6. Then add your ricotta cheese, 1 3/4 cup of your shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup of your grated Parmesan cheese, and your parsley. Mix well.
  7. If you are choosing to add hamburger or other meat to your sauce, this is where you will mix it with your sauce in another bowl.
  8. When your shells are done, remove them from heat and strain in a colander in the sink.
  9. Immediately pour them onto a piece of wax paper on the counter and separate them. You want them to be cool to stuff, but want to keep them separate so they don't stick together.
  10. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a rectangular (13x9) casserole dish generously with cooking spray.
  11. When your shells are cooled, gently fill each with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of your ricotta mixture.
  12. As you fill each shell, lay them in row in your dish to cover the entire bottom of the dish.
  13. Use 1/2 of your spaghetti sauce (or meat mixture) to cover this first layer of shells.
  14. Continue filling your shells and creating a second layer.
  15. Use the second 1/2 of your spaghetti sauce (or meat mixture) to cover this second layer of shells.
  16. Top your dish with your remaining shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese.
  17. Bake for 60 minutes in the oven, uncovered.
  18. Let cool slightly before serving. We love serving this with garlic bread and a generous salad. It's also great with steamed veggies.

Ingredients

  • 1 box jumbo shells pasta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (26oz) container ricotta cheese, regular or low-fat
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 (16oz) jar spaghetti sauce, any flavor
  • 1/2 cup parsley
Stuffed Shells Ingredients

Stuffed Shells Ingredients

Mixing Ingredients for Cheese Filling

Mixing Ingredients for Cheese Filling

Lay Out Your Stuffed Shells Evenly in Your Pan

Lay Out Your Stuffed Shells Evenly in Your Pan

Create an Assembly Line for Layering Your Casserole

Create an Assembly Line for Layering Your Casserole

Cover with a Final Layer of Tomato Sauce Before Baking

Cover with a Final Layer of Tomato Sauce Before Baking

The Sign of a Good Meal

The Sign of a Good Meal

Don't let this recipe hinder you from making it your own. If you love veggies, pack it with zucchini and broccoli.

If you like spinach lasagna, add some spinach and voila! You could easily add any type of meats or seasonings you wanted to make it yours.

You can even use a white sauce instead of tomato. In one of the links I offer before, one lady used a pesto because her son was allergic to tomatoes. I couldn't imagine never eating tomatoes!

If there is ever a time to try a dinner switch, consider trying this out the next time you want to make lasagna. Your family will be delighted and you'll hear cries for this meal again and again.

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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness

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