This Easy Stuffed Shells Recipe with meat sauce is perfect for so many occasions – weekend entertaining, Sunday Dinner and it’s even simple enough for weeknight dinners!
Easy Stuffed Shells
I’m all about easy and delicious dinner recipes, so I am excited to share our very favorite stuffed shells with sausage today! The whole family loves this tasty dinner recipe that will quickly become a favorite in your home.
What You’ll Need
- pasta sauce– Use your favorite pasta sauce. I love the Trader Joe’s 4 Cheese Sauce.
- ground sausage– Jimmy Dean mild sausage roll works great here.
- dry shells– Look for the large shells in the pasta isle.
- Ricotta Cheese– Get a good quality Ricotta for best tasting results.
- Parmesan Cheese– Use fresh Parmesan Cheese for best tasting results.
- mozzarella cheese– Shredded mozzarella gets melted on top of the shells.
- kosher salt– Kosher salt is a coarse salt commonly used in cooking and baking.
- freshly ground black pepper– For best tasting results use freshly cracked black pepper.
- garlic salt– Lawry’s has a good garlic salt if you have it available.
- fresh basil– Fresh basil adds freshness and color to the pasta.
How To Make Stuffed Shells
Cook the meat sauce. Brown sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned and crumbled. Add sausage to the remaining pasta sauce stirring to combine.
Cook shells according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside while you prepare the ricotta.
Mix cheese filling. Place Ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, salt, pepper and garlic salt into a large bowl, stirring to combine.
Assemble pasta dish. Scoop about 2 tablespoons in each cooked shell and place side by side into the baking dish. You can place seam side down or up. I place mine down. Top with a few tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese then spoon meat sauce over each shell. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Make sure to line your pasta shells nice and close to one another. Since this dish is just a single layer you want to be able to fit as much as possible in your pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until hot and melted.
Do I Arrange My Shells Seam Side Up or Down?
Honestly, you can do either. I like to place my stuffed shells seam side down so that I top the top with more shredded mozzarella. It’s great either way. Arrange them how you’d like!
So much cheese deliciousness!
How To Serve Stuffed Shells
There are so many ways to enjoy a good baked pasta dish. I like to serve stuffed shells with garlic toast and a side salad. Easy, simpler dinner perfection!
How To Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can store any leftover shells in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat simply scoop your desired amount onto a plate and then reheat in the microwave. The amount of time depends upon how much you are trying to heat up. I recommend reheating this dish single servings at a time and starting with about 1 min 30 seconds in the microwave. Then give the pasta a little stir and test the shells that were in the center of the dish to see if they have reheated. I usually need to heat for another minute or so after testing.
Recipe Tips For Success
- Check the pasta at least 2 minutes before package recommends. You don’t want to overcook the shells.
- Try using alfredo sauce for another variation instead of the red sauce. Your favorite prepared alfredo works great.
- Try doubling the recipe and freezing one for a dinner another time. Make sure it’s in an airtight dish. Freeze up to 3 months and thaw before cooking.
Easy Stuffed Shells Recipe
- Baking Dish
- 26 ounce jar pasta sauce
- 1 pound ground sausage
- 2 boxes dry Shells large about 50
- 45 ounces Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Pour 1/2 cup pasta sauce into bottom of two 9 x 13 inch baking dishes.
- Brown sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned and crumbled. Add sausage to the remaining pasta sauce stirring to combine.
- Cook shells according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside while you prepare the ricotta. Be sure not to overcook shells as they will break. Once drained I like to place onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray to keep them from sticking to each other.
- Place Ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, salt, pepper and garlic salt into a large bowl, stirring to combine. Scoop about 2 tablespoons into each cooked shell and place side by side into the baking dish. You can place seam side down or up. I place mine down. Top each baking dish with shells with a few tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese, then spoon meat sauce evenly over each shell. Top with fresh shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes, until hot and melted. Before serving top with sliced fresh basil.