Stuffed shells with Parmesan, mozzarella, and marinara sauce is an easy pasta dinner your family will love. It’s easy to make and a comforting, cozy meal.
These easy stuffed shells are always a hit and a dinner that is guaranteed to get everyone around the table. It’s easy enough for a weeknight or you can prep it ahead and bake it later.
There is nothing better than pulling a baking dish of bubbling hot baked pasta shells out of the oven for dinner. Add a salad and some bread on the side for a dinner your family will love.
Easy stuffed pasta shells are a comforting, cozy dinner that I’ll be making all through the fall season. Even though this year is a little different with the kids attending remotely, they still finish the day ready for a hearty dinner. So, I’ve been getting organized and planning easy dinner recipes like these cheese stuffed shells.
The days are still warm here, but the evenings are definitely cooler, and what’s better on a crisp fall night than a bubbly hot baked pasta? It might look complicated, but this stuffed pasta shells recipe couldn’t be easier.
Easy for Weeknights or Make it Ahead
- I use my favorite jarred marinara sauce to make this recipe so easy. It cuts the work down considerably!
- While the pasta boils, you can make the filling which has a combination of Parmesan and ricotta cheese and lots of seasonings to give it tons of flavor.
- Stuff and bake the shells and 25 minutes later dinner is ready.
- You can easily prep this recipe ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator or freeze it for a busy night when there’s no time to prep dinner.
Easy Cheese Filling
The cheese filling is so easy to make with very little prep work required. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Ricotta cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Minced garlic
- Minced parsley
- Chopped basil leaves
- Red pepper flakes
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
Just mix them all together until well combined and the filling is ready.
How to Make Stuffed Shells
When you boil the jumbo pasta shells, cook them until they are al dente. This means they are still a bit chewy. Once you stuff them, they will finish cooking in the oven with the sauce and will be perfectly tender.
Before you stuff the shells, coat the bottom of an oven-safe pan or baking dish with marinara sauce.
Gently spoon the filling into each shell and then place them in an even layer in the baking dish.
Fit the shells in the dish so they are nice and snug. This will also help keep them upright so the filling doesn’t spill out while they’re baking.
Spoon more marinara sauce over the shells.
And, of course, sprinkle lots of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake the shells for 25 minutes at 350°F or until the sauce is bubbling hot and the cheese is melted.
Make it Ahead for an Easy Dinner
If you want to make things very easy, assemble the dish ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep well up to a few days in advance.
When it’s time for dinner, just uncover it and add a few extra minutes to the baking time. Often, I assemble it during the weekend so dinner is handled for Monday night. It makes the start of the week so much easier.
Side Dish Ideas
- Serve these rich cheese-stuffed pasta shells with a fresh green salad on the side or try my chopped Caprese salad – it’s so delicious.
- Roasted vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or asparagus are also a good choice.
- Of course, my easy garlic Parmesan breadsticks are perfect with this hearty pasta dish. They’re great for soaking up the extra sauce.
For an extra special treat, I love to make a batch of my double chocolate brownies for dessert. They make these early back-to-school days a little easier for all of us.
Cheesy stuffed jumbo shells are always a favorite at our house. I think it will be at yours, too! I hope you love it – Enjoy! XOXO San
Don’t forget to pin this recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Easy Stuffed Shells
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon salt for pasta water
- 30 ounces ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped about 8 to 10 leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 28 ounces marinara sauce
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook pasta shells in boiling water salted with 1 tablespoon salt, making sure to only cook until al dente.
- Meanwhile, prepare your baking dish by coating a 9×13" baking dish with cooking spray or lightly coat with butter. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan and then set it aside.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse it with cold water.
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta and Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper.
- Gently spoon the mixture into the the cooked shells. Place each stuffed shell into the baking dish on top of the sauce.
- Once all of the shells are stuffed, cover then with the remaining sauce and sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Serve with bread, salad and maybe some brownies for dessert!