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Stuffed Shells

Rich, creamy ricotta and mozzarella cheeses combine to make the perfect filling for large pasta shells. The shells are covered in a savory marinara sauce and then baked in the oven. Perfecto!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes use tomatoes and liquid
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1-2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup water more may be needed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb. whole or part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb package or block of mozzarella sliced, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package large pasta shells (about 30 shells)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Cook onions for about 10 minutes until translucent but not brown. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste. Add liquid from the tomatoes and then , use your fingers to squish tomatoes as much as you can before dropping them into the sauce. Mix well and then add one cup of water.
  3. Add salt, sugar, and chopped basil. Stir sauce. If sauce is too thick for your liking, add more water, starting with a half cup at a time, and stir after each addition, to get the consistency you like.
  4. While sauce is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, and chunks of mozzarella. Set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 375. Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt. Water level should be enough to cook pasta. Bring water to a boil. Cook shells according to package directions. Do not overcook as shells will still have to bake in the oven.
  6. When pasta is cooked, drain but do not rinse. Allow pasta to cool slightly in strainer before moving on to next step so you don't burn your hands when stuffing them. In the meantime, take a large baking or lasagna pan and put a layer of sauce on the bottom.
  7. To stuff shells, take a tablespoon of cheese filling and put inside each shell. Do not over stuff or filling will leak out during baking. Place in pan. Continue with each shell, placing them closely together in baking pan until all shells have been used.
  8. Cover shells with marinara sauce. Top sauce with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until cheese melts.
  9. Check at 15-20 minutes to make sure cheese does not burn. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note: Use your favorite store-bought sauce if you don't have time make the marinara sauce.