Sometimes I am feeling organized, it is rare, but it does happen just like a blue moon.  And, when I am feeling organized I will cook a couple things at a time.  One thing that saves well in the fridge is Stuffed Shells. So, if I am making dinner and I have a bit more time I will throw this dish together and pop it in the fridge and that is dinner later in the week.

If I am making stuffed shells while I am making another recipe you know it is easy! I NEVER make homemade sauce for this dish.  It just takes too much time, but if you have homemade sauce on hand then give yourself a hand and use it! I use whatever jarred sauce I have in the pantry.  Many times I will doctor up the jarred sauce by adding sauted onions and garlic and 1/2 cup of beef broth.  This makes the sauce taste homemade without all the time and ingredients! Another addition is Italian sausage or ground beef to the sauce to make it more hearty.
I am not a lover of the freezer because I put things in there and they never seem to come out.  It’s like the abyss. But, if you are a freezer fan then make this recipe and cover it in plastic wrap and then foil.  Do not cook it prior to freezing. The double cooking will dry out the shells. When ready to eat just bake at 350° covered for about 45 minutes.  You will probably need to add more sauce to prevent drying out.

Stuffed Shells

A delicious and easy weeknight dinner.

Servings 6


  • 1 box large shell pasta
  • 2 Cups whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 Cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup parsley, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lemon zested
  • 1 jar pasta sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 Tablespoon salt to the water.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions less a couple minutes. You want it al dente since it will cook more in the oven. Drain and let cool.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon zest.

  4. In a 9x13" baking dish, spread about 1 cup of sauce over the bottom.

  5.  Fill each shell with about 2 Tablespoons of the cheese mixture and place in the baking dish. Do not over fill the dish. 

  6. Once all the shells are stuffed and in the baking dish spread a layer of sauce overtop.

  7. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake and additional 10 or until cheese is melted.

Recipe Notes

Do not use a metal baking dish it will react with the tomato sauce and give it a tin taste.  Also, spray the bottom side of the foil with cooking spray and it will not stick to the shells when you remove it.