Large pasta shells

Within the world of pasta, there exists a versatile and delightful variety: large pasta shells. With their graceful curves and hollow centers, these shells are like edible vessels, waiting to be filled with culinary wonders. Whether your palate leans towards a classic cheesy stuffing, a savory meat medley, or a garden-fresh vegetable blend, the possibilities are endless. In this article, we’ll begin with a foundational recipe that opens the door to your creativity. Prepare to embark on a journey to craft delectable stuffed pasta shells that will have your taste buds rejoicing in every bite.

Ingredients: The Building Blocks of Deliciousness

For the Stuffed Pasta Shells:

  • 10 to 15 large pasta shells, ready for transformation
  • 2 cups of creamy ricotta cheese, the heart of your filling
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, for that melty embrace
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, adding a touch of luxury
  • 1 large egg, binding it all together
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped for a burst of freshness
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of seasoning
  • Your choice of sauce (marinara, alfredo, or pesto), the saucy partner

For the Topping (Optional):

  • Additional shredded mozzarella cheese, for a decadent crown
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish, a touch of herbal elegance

Instructions: Crafting Your Stuffed Pasta Shells

1. Cook the Pasta Shells:

  • Embark on your culinary journey by cooking the large pasta shells according to the package instructions. The aim here is to achieve the desirable al dente texture. Remember to generously salt the boiling water for an infusion of flavor.
  • Once perfectly cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside to cool slightly.

2. Prepare the Filling:

  • In a welcoming mixing bowl, assemble the star of the show: the filling. Here, the creamy ricotta cheese takes center stage, joined by the harmonious companionship of shredded mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, a beaten egg, freshly chopped parsley, and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper. This union creates a luxurious, flavorful mixture that will grace each shell with delight.

3. Stuff the Shells:

  • With the filling ready, it’s time to transform the pasta shells. Gently fill each cooked shell with the cheese mixture, ensuring they are generously packed. Don’t be shy – let the filling peek out slightly for an enticing visual and textural experience.

4. Choose Your Sauce:

  • The next step is to select your sauce, which will harmonize with the stuffed shells. You have the choice of a classic marinara for a robust tomato embrace, a creamy alfredo for a luxurious touch, or a vibrant pesto for a burst of herbaceous freshness. Pour a small amount of your chosen sauce into the bottom of a baking dish to create a welcoming bed for the shells.

5. Arrange and Bake:

  • Carefully place the stuffed pasta shells in the prepared baking dish, ensuring they form a single, snug layer. If you desire an extra layer of indulgence, generously sprinkle some additional shredded mozzarella cheese atop the shells.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil to create a cozy cocoon for the shells. Then, bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for approximately 25-30 minutes. Your goal is to have the shells heated through and the cheese on top melted and gloriously bubbly.

6. Garnish and Serve:

  • Once your stuffed pasta shells emerge from their oven embrace, they deserve a finishing touch. Garnish them with fresh basil leaves for a burst of color and herbaceous delight.
  • Serve these culinary creations hot, and watch as delighted diners dive into this delightful dish.

Tips: Personalizing Your Stuffed Pasta Shells

  • Don’t hesitate to customize the filling with ingredients like sautéed spinach for a vibrant green addition, sun-dried tomatoes for a burst of rich sweetness, cooked ground meat for a hearty twist, or roasted vegetables for added depth of flavor.
  • Experiment with different sauces to change the overall flavor profile of the dish, allowing your creativity to shine.
  • These stuffed shells can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them, making them a convenient option for busy days.


Large pasta shells are more than just a canvas; they are a culinary playground awaiting your creative touch. The recipe for stuffed pasta shells presented here is merely the beginning of your culinary adventure. With a rich and cheesy filling, these shells offer a comforting, indulgent experience. Whether you choose a classic tomato sauce, a creamy alfredo, or a vibrant pesto, your stuffed pasta shells will always be a crowd-pleaser. So, gather your ingredients, let your imagination run wild, and savor the flavors of each delectable shell. In each bite, you’ll discover a world of possibilities and a feast of flavors that will leave your guests eagerly anticipating the next culinary masterpiece.

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