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Giant Stuffed Shells

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Easy stuffed shells, a classic Italian dish, features a bubbly delicious giant pasta shell stuffed with ooey gooey cheese.

This family-friendly dish provides a generous helping of pasta and needs very little prep time to get into the oven and onto the table. 

large baking dish of cheesy pasta.

Why you will love making Ricotta Stuffed Shells.

These three cheese-stuffed shells with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan are such hearty and comforting weeknight dinner meal.

Incredibly simple to pull together, giant stuffed shells are the perfect easy last-minute dinner recipe. 

Whether you take the easy road (like I do) with jarred marinara sauce or make it homemade, this Italian dinner recipe is even better than the shells recipe you get at Olive Garden (and it cost way less to make). 

Plus, easy stuffed shells make perfect lunch leftovers and warm up the next day deliciously for busy weeknights. 

classic pasta dish with giant stuffed shells.

Ingredients:

  • jumbo giant pasta shells
  • cheeses needed – ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese (or Italian Cheese blend) , and grated Parmesan cheese
  • egg
  • seasonings – Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
  • Favorite Marinara sauce (tomato sauce)

Optional seasonings also go great in this pasta dish – fresh garlic, pepper flakes, or garlic powder.

How to make Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread half a jar of pasta sauce into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
  2. Cook jumbo pasta shells according to package instructions, drain water and rinse shells with cool water.
  3. Mix ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix cheese filling well.
  4. Place the cheese mixture into a large piping bag and cut a 1/2″ hole in the tip.
easy italian dish for weeknight dinners with pasta shells.
  1. Pipe creamy filling into each jumbo shell and place into the pan on top of the layer of marina sauce in a single line.
  2. As a note, shells can touch. Once all pasta shells are filled with ricotta mixture, spoon the remaining sauce over shells and top with the remaining extra cheese.
  3. Cover stuffed pasta shells tightly with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove foil and return to the oven, uncovered, and bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with fresh parsley if desired.
giant ricotta stuffed shells.

Beware the broken shells!

Prepare for some shells to break and boil extra shells. You will get about 28 shells out of the filling, so cook 32 shells in case any rip or are broken.

Not that the giant stuffed shells won’t be delicious, but it’s easier to stuff a whole shell.

Stuffed Shells Variations

While this is a cheesy goodness option (and who doesn’t like all types of cheese), many people enjoy adding fresh spinach, diced onions, fresh basil, or a little cooked ground beef or Italian sausage. 

This dish is a great vegetarian dinner, but if meat is more your thing, spoon hearty meat sauce over the shells. 

Cheesy stuffed shells are one of the perfect recipes to get creative in the kitchen without too much worry about it going wrong. Stuff, cook, and enjoy!

Try this cheesy pasta dish with alfredo sauce instead of marinara. 

entire casserole dish full of stuffed shells and marinara sauce.

Side dishes for Stuffed Shells

All Italian dishes go great with garlic bread, but having green veggies on the dinner table is also a must for pasta.

Serve with a little side salad or some oven-baked broccoli

oven roasted broccoli with Parmesan cheese laying on a pan

Need another last-minute dinner idea?

We have all had moments where we struggled to find a creative, easy, and last-minute dinner plan. I have some great dinner recipes that will fit the bill. 

One totally simple and family-approved recipe for Salty Side Dish is Chicken Rice Casserole. Highly rated too!

Wendy’s copycat chili recipe is perfect while it’s still winter outside. Let slow cook and simmer, or simply warm and serve!

There is no doubt that casseroles work great for a busy family. Mix it up and try a cabbage roll recipe, a million dollar chicken casserole, or a classic tuna casserole recipe.

close up of cheesy stuffed shells.
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Giant Stuffed Shells (Ricotta)


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Better than Olive Garden stuffed Giant shells, a classic Italian dish perfect for weeknight dinners, this family friendly stuffed shells have 3 cheeses and are delicious.

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells cooked, drained and rinsed – it is wise to make extras in case some break
  • 15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • ½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 24 oz. marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Spread half a jar of pasta sauce into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
  • Cook giant pasta shells according to package directions, drain of water, and rinse with cool water. 
  • Mix ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
  • Place the cheese mixture into a large piping bag and cut a 1/2" hole in the tip. 
  • Pipe cheese filling into each shell and place each shell into the pan on top of the sauce in a single layer. It is fine if the shells touch each other.
  • Once all pasta shells are filled, spoon all the remaining sauce on top of each shell and top with the rest of the cheese.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake stuffed shells for 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and return to oven, uncovered and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with fresh parsley or fresh basil if desired. 

Notes

While this is a cheesy goodness option (and who doesn’t like all types of cheese), many people enjoy adding fresh spinach, diced onions, fresh basil, or a little cooked ground beef or Italian sausage. 
If meat is more your thing, spoon hearty meat sauce over the shells. 
Serve with a fresh vegetable side (like broccoli or asparagus) and garlic bread. 

Nutrition

Serving: 3shells | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 331IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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