Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stuffed Shells

I started making stuffed shells because I LOVE Lasagna but not the work. My stuffed shells are always a little different depending on what I have in my fridge. Last night I had pesto left over from another dinner so I added it to the filling. I make my shells with my basic meat sauce. 

Basic Meat Sauce
My Basic meat sauce is simple and full of flavor. 

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (ground turkey if you prefer)
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp all spice
3 cans tomato sauce
2 tsp salt 
1 tsp pepper
5 fresh basil leaves chopped

In a large pot add ground beef and season with 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp oregano. Brown for 1 minute and then add chopped onion. Continue to cook for 2 minutes then add minced garlic. Mix this around and cook 1 minute then add allspice. Once the meat is cooked all the way through add 3 cans tomato sauce. Add 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Let this simmer for an 1/2 hour to an 1hour or cook all day if you like. The all spice is a trick I learned from Rachel Ray that makes the sauce taste like it has been cooking all day so you don't have to unless you would like. About 10 minutes before you are going to use the sauce add the chopped fresh basil. If you don't have fresh basil don't worry just added either 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning or dried basil or just more oregano. 
For this I use Ronzoni jumbo shells. I use whatever brand makes them but I've only seen Ronzoni  and Barilla. I cook these shells a minute less than they say on the box because you bake them for 20 minutes and I hate mushy pasta, so I boil mine for 9 minutes. 
1 container (15 ounces) of whole milk ricotta
3 tbs pesto 
2 tbs sour cream
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 c. shredded Mozzarella for the top

Add all ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Set aside in fridge until shells are cooked. Once shells are ready take small spoon and fill each shell with about 1 tbs of ricotta mixture. Depending on how much much you fill each one you may or may not use every shell. I've actually never used every shell.

In a 9 x 13 inch pan put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom so the shells don't stick. Fill each shell and making one layer in the pan. Add sauce over the shells but don't use it all and don't drowned them. I like to leave the remainder sauce on the side simmer and add it to my dish of shells. Add a good layer of shredded mozzarella on the top and Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes

Try it and let me know what you think. Me and my guests just loved them.


  1. I love lasagna but I hate the time that it takes to make....I am def. going to give this recipe a try. Thanks for Sharing!


  2. Oh my - stuffed and baked! This is the kind of dish I'd easily die for.

  3. Can't go wrong with stuffed shells...EVER!! These look incredible!

  4. Mmm I haven't had stuffed shells in so long! They look incredible! Totally craving them now & I love the added pesto. Yum!

  5. Lookin' good! Glad I found your site...making me hungry though :-)
    Thanks for following my site Andrea.

  6. Give me pasta and meat sauce and you have one happy lady.. This looks delicious!

  7. oh, that looks so good... I am so hungry now.

  8. Oh man, stuffed shells is too good! This looks out-of-this-world amazing!! I wish I could have a plate...looks like I'm just gonna have to make it myself! Great recipe, hope you have a happy Fat Tuesday :)

  9. Yes! This is the perfect way to get your lasagna fix with half the work, looks fantastic!

  10. Your shells look delish, and I like you make them different too! Deb

  11. This looks delicious and I love the variety in it!

  12. That's a truckload of yumminess right there! I'm a big fan of throwing in whatever takes my fancy or leftovers as well. That's what I love about pasta sauce, so customizable :D The pesto sure adds a lovely dimension to the basic meat sauce, great mix you have there :)

  13. I really like the filling in these stuffed shells, and the whole dish sounds delicious!

  14. I'm absolutely making this ASAP. I'm obsessed with anything lasagna-ish. Yum! (and I'm happy to be YOUR newest follower now!) :)

  15. Yum! I can't wait to try this recipe, they look soooo good!