These lasagna stuffed shells are easier than making lasagna but are just as satisfying! @natashaskitchen

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Turns out, pregnancy is good for food blogging. August was a rough month for me; food aversions, being beached on the couch most of the day exhausted from first trimester fatigue, and just plain lacking motivation to cook. The second trimester has been beautiful. I’m back. Kind of like “back streets back” alright? I’m craving all sort of scrumptious things and can’t resist the urge to satisfy those cravings.

These beef and ricotta stuffed pasta shells were a product of those cravings; inspired by my favorite lasagna recipe. This is quicker and easier than making lasagna but it’s still just as satisfying! This recipe makes 24 stuffed shells. Shells will fit in a 9×13 pan (6 rows long by 4 rows across) or you can split them up into smaller baking dishes if you want to freeze half for later or deliver some to family or friends.

Ingredients for Pasta Shells:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup red wine (any kind), optional
25 oz jar of marinara sauce, divided
5 oz package of fresh spinach, chopped
16 oz reduced fat ricotta cheese
8 oz (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2/3 of a 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells (you need 24 shells plus a couple extra in case any break while boiling).

Stuffed Pasta Shells

How to Make Stuffed Pasta Shells:

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

1. Cook pasta shells al dente (firm tender) according to package instructions then drain and re-fill the pot with cold water; set aside. Keeping them in cold water will stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from sticking to each other.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp oil and saute 1/2 cup finely chopped onion with pressed garlic until softened (4-5 minutes). Add 1 lb lean ground beef and saute breaking up the meat, until meat is fully cooked and browned.

Stuffed Pasta Shells-1

3. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste. Stir in 1/4 cup red wine (if using) and simmer until wine is almost completely reduced down (3 min).

Stuffed Pasta Shells-2

4. Stir in 1/2 cup marinara sauce and 5 oz chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted (3 min) then remove pan from heat to cool slightly.

Stuffed Pasta Shells-3

5. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 16 oz ricotta cheese with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 large eggs and 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley. Next, stir in the meat mixture.

Stuffed Pasta Shells-4

Stuffed Pasta Shells-5

6. Pour 1/2 cup marinara into a 9×13 baking dish and spread over the bottom.

7. Drain shells and fill each one with an ice cream scoop of filling (2 rounded Tbsp); they should actually look “stuffed.” Arrange pasta shells cozily into your prepared baking dish and pour remaining marinara evenly over the tops of the stuffed shells (no need for perfection).

Stuffed Pasta Shells-6

Stuffed Pasta Shells-7

8. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cover with foil (or lid) and bake until hot and bubbly (40 minutes). Remove foil and bake additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is golden.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

These lasagna stuffed shells are easier than making lasagna but are just as satisfying! @natashaskitchen

You can eat these right away or re-heat them later :).

Lasagna Stuffed Shells

4.92 from 57 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
These lasagna stuffed shells are easier than making lasagna but are just as satisfying! @natashaskitchen
These beef and ricotta stuffed pasta shells were inspired by my favorite lasagna recipe. This is quicker and easier than making lasagna but it's still just as satisfying! This recipe makes 24 stuffed shells. Shells will fit in a 9x13 pan (6 rows long by 4 rows across) or you can split them up into smaller baking dishes if you want to freeze half for later or deliver some to family or friends.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 24 stuffed shells
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine, any kind, optional
  • 25 oz jar of marinara sauce, divided
  • 5 oz package of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 16 oz reduced fat ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2/3 of a 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells, you need 24 shells plus a couple extra in case any break while boiling.

Instructions

How to Make Stuffed Shells: Preheat oven to 375˚F.

  • Cook pasta shells al dente (firm tender) according to package instructions then drain and re-fill the pot with cold water; set aside. Keeping them in cold water will stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from sticking to each other.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp oil and saute 1/2 cup finely chopped onion with pressed garlic until softened (5 minutes). Add 1 lb lean ground beef and saute breaking up the meat, until meat is fully cooked and browned.
  • Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste. Stir in 1/4 cup red wine (if using) and simmer until wine is almost completely reduced down (3 min).
  • Stir in 1/2 cup marinara sauce and chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted (3 min) then remove pan from heat to cool slightly.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together 16 oz ricotta cheese with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 large eggs and 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley. Stir in the meat mixture.
  • Pour 1/2 cup marinara into a 9x13 baking dish and spread over the bottom.
  • Drain shells and fill each one with an ice cream scoop of filling (2 rounded Tbsp); they should actually look "stuffed." Arrange pasta shells cozily into your prepared baking dish and pour remaining marinara evenly over the tops of the stuffed shells (no need for perfection).
  • Sprinkle the top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cover with foil (or lid) and bake until hot and bubbly (40 minutes). Remove foil and bake additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is golden. You can eat these right away or re-heat them later :).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Lasagna Stuffed Shells
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $$
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

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These lasagna stuffed shells are easier than making lasagna but are just as satisfying! @natashaskitchen

Enjoy this my friends and thanks for sharing it with your friends and fam, pinning my recipes, commenting or even just perusing the site. I’m sure thankful for ya!

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • STASH
    May 27, 2024

    CAN THIS RECEPIE BE MADE BEFORE HAND BY 1 DAY? CAN IT BE LEFT COMPLETELY MIXED IN A BOWL AND BAKED THE NEXT DAY AFTER COOKING THE SHELLS.?

    Reply

  • Pat
    April 18, 2024

    Love your recipes!!!💜💜💜🫶🫶I have a hard time deciding what to make for dinner. With your recipes, you make it easy. Thank you Natasha!

    Reply

  • Lori Graff
    April 10, 2024

    I made this today for my family , I usually use my Grandmother’s , they loved this one!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 10, 2024

      I’m happy to hear that, Lori!

      Reply

  • Susanna
    September 17, 2022

    Hi Natasha.
    I followed the recipe exactly. Very sure I didn’t miss anything. Came out bland. I feel like something needs to be added.
    Your other stuffed shell recipe is perfect. Will stick to that one.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 19, 2022

      Hi Susanna, I haven’t had that experience, and I’m sorry to hear that it was yours. Please ensure there were no substitutions made to the ingredients. That could likely be the culprit. This dish should be full of flavor. I hope it works out better for you next time.

      Reply

  • Connie
    August 23, 2022

    Natasha, I got side tracked making your shells and I did not brown the burger. I hate to throw everything out and start again. Will the meat still cook in the oven? I just love your recipes. Thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 23, 2022

      Hi Connie! Is the meat completely raw? If so, you may need to adjust the time of the recipe to ensure it is fully cooked. If you cooked the meat, just didn’t “brown” it, then it should be fine. 🙂

      Reply

  • Pat
    April 30, 2022

    Hi Natasha, I just finished assembling these stuffed shells (not the first time either). Can I refrigerate til tomorrow covered with foil?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 2, 2022

      Hello Pat, yes, that will work! Please update us on how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Lola
    January 27, 2022

    Hi, can I make these the night before and bake the next day? Or at least make the filling the day before and then do the rest the day of? What would you suggest.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 27, 2022

      Hello Lola, you may freeze it after it’s assembled but unbaked. 🙂 Cover with foil and then plastic wrap before freezing and it will last a few months in the freezer. Baking time will increase if freezing; remove plastic wrap and leave the foil on and bake 1 hour then remove the cover and let cheese brown for a few minutes. I haven’t tried freezing it baked, however but assume that it should work also.

      Reply

  • Sevella
    December 12, 2021

    Have this in the oven right now and smells great and can’t wait till we can try it. I am sure I will be making this often.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 12, 2021

      Please update us on how it goes. I hope it becomes your new favorite!

      Reply

  • Kristina
    November 24, 2021

    Loved this! It’s one of my favorite recipes! Thank you Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 24, 2021

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Kristina!

      Reply

  • Gayle Bullock
    November 7, 2021

    I made this recipe tonight and we loved it so much! I have made quite a few recipes from your site. Keep up the great work Natasha 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 8, 2021

      Yay, that’s fantastic feedback! Thank you for sharing that with us, Gayle.

      Reply

  • Jessie
    September 22, 2021

    One of my favorite recipes! I have done it with ground beef and also tried it with ground turkey and grounded chicken; tastes great with any meat substitutes!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 22, 2021

      That’s what I love about recipes like this! So many options for substitutions! You can truly make it your own!

      Reply

      • Katie
        July 21, 2022

        Made these last night for a family visit and everyone loved them so much! I used half beef half sausage and they turned out amazing! My husband also said it was the best “lasagna stuffed pasta” he’s ever had! This isn’t the only recipe we’ve tried from your blog and they are always a hit! Thank you so much Natasha!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          July 21, 2022

          You’re welcome! I’m so happy you all enjoyed it, Katie

          Reply

  • Kat
    July 27, 2021

    Made this for dinner tonight.
    Delicious. We all enjoyed it.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 27, 2021

      Great to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, Kat Thanks for your good review!

      Reply

  • kathy Barone
    April 20, 2021

    I just made these for super tonight very easy to put together and in a few hours I will have the final verdict as hubby loves pasta and sauces and he will let me know if he thinks its a keeper for future meals. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us here.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 20, 2021

      You’re welcome, Kathy! I hope you both enjoy it!

      Reply

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