This classic Italian recipe for stuffed shells offers big, authentic flavor in one simple, homemade meal. Easy to make and full of delicious cheesy goodness and flavorful tomato sauce, this family favorite will have everyone requesting seconds!
Prep Time20 minutesmins
Cook Time25 minutesmins
Total Time45 minutesmins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Stuffed Shells Recipe
25jumbo shellsBarilla brand
23ouncesPrego marinara saucedivided
½cupparmesan cheesefinely grated
1½cupsmozzarella cheesefinely shredded
chopped parsley or basilfor optional garnish
In a large pot, cook shells in boiling water with 5 teaspoons of salt added based on directions on the box. The noodles are typically done after around 9 minutes. You want the noodles to be al dente (fairly soft but also still firm to the bite).
Drain and rinse pasta immediately in cold water, this is key in helping the noodles stop continuing to cook which can lead to mushiness. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Place 1½ cups of marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan. Spread the sauce out evenly with a spatula.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and onion powder.
Place the cheese mixture in a Ziploc bag and snip off the end or use a pastry bag with a medium-sized plain round tip.
Pipe the cheese filling into each cooked shell one as you hold them in your hand. Be sure and open the shells wide so you can stuff shells with as much ricotta filling as they can hold. Place the filled shells in your prepared pan.
Top with the remaining marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese as evenly as possible.
Cover the pan top entirely with aluminum foil and place in the oven on the bottom rack.
Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling around the edge of the pan and the cheese is melted.
Remove the foil and move the pan to the top rack, turn the oven to 450°F, and cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese starts to slightly show golden bubbles on top.
Remove and serve immediately. Shells change shape and flatten if you let them rest for very long. They’re great with fresh or dried parsley or basil garnish and some fresh shredded parmesan on top.
TIP: Barilla was the best brand I found for this recipe because the noodles are larger, hold their shape the most consistently, and cook the same every time. A lot of other brands cooked at drastically different times and often fell apart. The ridges on Barilla are very defined and add a pretty texture to the dish while also making a stable home for the delicious ricotta filling.TIP: The pasta water should taste like salt water. This is a great way to start infusing flavor into the noodles from the beginning of the cooking process.TIP: Keep a close eye on the cheese so it doesn't burn and remove sooner than the 7-minute mark if needed.