Lasagna Stuffed Pasta Shells are made with a savory beef and ricotta filling, tender shells, and a delicious saucy base with a melted cheese topping!
Lasagna Stuffed Pasta Shells are a fusion of classic lasagna flavors packed into jumbo pasta shells for a fun twist on the traditional dish. This hearty meal begins with perfectly al dente pasta shells, each one stuffed with a rich blend of ground beef and creamy ricotta cheese. It is a fantastic dish for both weeknight dinners and special occasions, and it’s always a favorite dinner.
Why We Love This Pasta Recipe
- Flavorful Filling: The ground beef is mixed with marinara sauce, which adds depth to the flavor and keeps the beef moist and tender.
- Cheesy Goodness: The combo of ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella in the cheese filling provides a creamy texture and a blend of sharp and mild flavors.
- Family Appeal: This recipe is a crowd-pleaser with its familiar ingredients and comforting flavors, making it a hit among both kids and adults.
Ingredients For Stuffed Pasta Shells
- For the Pasta: jumbo pasta shells and water.
- For the Beef: olive oil, yellow onion, fresh garlic, ground beef, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and marinara sauce.
- For the Cheese: ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan, eggs, dried oregano, and parsley.
How to Make Lasagna Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Prepare the Shells: Boil the jumbo shells according to the package directions. Then, drain the shells and place them back into the pot with cold water to cover; set aside.
- Prepare the Ground Beef: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet and saute the onions, garlic, seasonings, and beef until the beef is browned. Stir in ½ cup of marinara, cook 2 minutes more, and set aside.
- Prepare the Cheese Filling: In a mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, eggs, oregano, and one cup of mozzarella. Add the ricotta mixture to the meat and mix well to combine.
- Stuff the Shells and Arrange in Pan: Spread a cup of marinara over the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Drain the pasta shells well. Stuff each shell with 2 tablespoons of filling and arrange in the pan. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella.
- Bake and Serve: Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375˚F for 40 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake 5 minutes more, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, garnish with parsley, and serve.
Tips for the Best Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Pasta Prep: Don’t overcook the pasta shells so they don’t fall apart when stuffing and can maintain their texture after baking.
- Cold Water: Rinse boiled shells with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking together.
- Season Generously: Be generous with seasoning the beef and cheese fillings to ensure each shell is flavorful.
- Filling Consistency: Make sure the ricotta mixture isn’t too wet or runny – it should be thick enough to hold its shape when the shells are stuffed.
- Experiment with Fillings: Add vegetables like spinach to the cheese mixture or swap the ground beef for sausage.
- Make Ahead: Assemble the dish ahead of time and refrigerate. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time if you’re starting from cold.
It’s always good to accompany a hearty pasta dish with a fresh salad. I like my crisp, crunchy Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dressing, or try this Shrimp Salad with Avocados. I also like serving this dish with Crispy Air Fryer Parmesan Zucchini Fries or with these Romano Beans.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze this for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To reheat, place in the oven, covered with foil, and bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Lasagna Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 jar (24 ounces) Marinara sauce, divided, (you can also use your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce)
- 1 tub (15 ounces) reduced fat ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, or any other favorite dried herb
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Prepare the pasta shells according to the package directions. Drain and put the shells back into the pot; fill the pot with cold water and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large 12-inch skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 15 seconds.
- Stir in the beef; season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook the beef until browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
- Stir in ¾ cup marinara and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine ricotta, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese, eggs, and oregano; mix and stir until combined.
- Add the meat mixture to the ricotta mixture and stir until incorporated.
- Add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
- Drain the shells.
- Spoon the lasagna filling into the shells – about 2 tablespoons of filling per shell.
- Arrange the shells in the baking dish and top them with the remaining cheese and marinara sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 4 to 5 more minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
- Remove from oven.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
- Cooking the Pasta: Cook the pasta shells just until al dente. It will be easier to stuff them, and they will retain their shape after baking.
- Cooling the Shells: Cool the pasta shells with cold water after boiling to halt the cooking process and prevent them from becoming sticky.
- Filling Variations: Feel free to incorporate greens like spinach into your cheese mix, or consider using sausage instead of ground beef for a different twist.
- Prepare Ahead: You can put together the entire dish in advance and just store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, simply add a few minutes to the baking time and bake until it is heated through.