A family favorite dinner! This recipe features a creamy, three cheese filling packed into pasta shells and cooked in your choice of marinara sauce. These couldn’t be any easier to make and they come together within 30 minutes. Plus, no oven required!
These stuffed shells are a cheesy paradise!
Bursting with flavor, the most time consuming portion of this recipe is just filling the shells. But it’s still outrageously easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes.
A winning dinner choice for sure!
Stuffed pasta shells ingredients:
• pasta shells: JUMBO sized!
• mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheese: my favorite trio of cheeses in any and all pasta recipes! You’ll need all three for the filling, and some more mozzarella and parmesan for topping the stuffed shells
• basil: fresh basil is best, but you can use dry if needed. Use two teaspoons if using dried basil.
• salt & pepper: to season the filling. You may need a bit more to taste for the sauce as well
• marinara sauce: I prefer to use homemade whenever possible (which is why there are a few extra ingredients in the photo above!), but jarred sauce works perfectly fine if you prefer. The shells go with a wide range of marinara flavors, so feel free to customize the type – just as long as it pairs well with basil!
How to make stuffed pasta shells:
1. Cook pasta shells. It typically takes about 12 minutes, but check the package instructions for reference. I like to just slightly undercook the shells to make them easier to fill (without a ton of breaking). Annnnd they’re going to heat in the sauce for a bit, so it helps prevent overcooking.
2. Cool shells. Run the shells under cold water to keep them from sticking and to cool them enough to handle. Drain, and set aside.
3. Make the cheese filling. Combine your three cheeses, basil, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix to incorporate.
4. Fill shells. Each shell should fit about 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese. Make sure to pack in the cheese very well to prevent exploding shells!
5. Cook shells in marinara sauce. Pour your sauce into a skillet, and nestle the shells into the sauce (leaving the tops exposed to keep the filling from melting into the sauce!) Sprinkle more cheese on top, then cover and cook until heated through and the cheese on top has melted!
Check out these other recipes!
Stovetop Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe
- 15 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 & 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- 3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (plus more for serving if you'd like)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta shells to the pot, and cook according to the package instructions, until al dente. * TIP: I like to boil a few extra shells to have on hand just in case some of them tear or break (there's always one!) If it doesn't matter to you, feel free to boil exactly 15 shells.
- Rinse the pasta shells under cold water until cool enough to handle, and drain. Set aside to prep the cheese filling.
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix until well incorporated.
- Fill each shell with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of your cheese filling. Make sure to pack the filling in well to keep it from melting and bursting as it cooks. Repeat until all of the shells are filled.
- Pour your marinara sauce into a large skillet with high sides. Nestle the filled shells into the skillet, making sure to leave the tops of the shells above the sauce (otherwise the cheese filling can melt into the sauce – still tasty, but not pretty!)
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan over the shells. Cover the skillet and place on a stove burner set to medium-low heat. Cook until the cheese on top is melted and the shells are warmed all the way through (about 10 minutes).