This Easy Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and the ground beef recipe is what’s for dinner. These shells are stuffed with a delicious combination of ground beef, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. Top the shells off with your favorite pasta sauce and more cheese, and you have heaven on a plate.
What’s for dinner?
What’s for dinner?
What’s for dinner?
I literally get asked this question at least three times a day. Like many of you, I do not always have an answer. Most times, I have no clue until around 3 pm when I have to make a decision and get something on the table before everyone gets home. When I have a box of jumbo pasta shells, pasta sauce, and cheese in the house, the answer is always easy…Stuffed Shells are what’s for dinner! It is always a win with the hubs and kids!
These pasta shells with ground beef are simple to make, take less than an hour, and make excellent leftovers. You can look at the stuffed shells like mini lasagna pasta shells because this recipe has most of the ingredients you would put in, well, a lasagna.
Ingredients for Stuffed Shells Recipe
Remember I mention that the ingredients for this stuffed pasta shells recipe have almost everything you would put in a lasagna. In case you’ve never made that dish either, let’s take a look at what those ingredients are:
Jumbo Pasta Shells: You will need one box of this pasta. You can find these in the pasta aisle at most grocery stores.
Ground Beef: I used lean ground beef but you can definitely use alternatives like ground Italian sausage, ground pork, ground lamb, or even meatless crumbles.
Ricotta Cheese: I used whole milk ricotta cheese, but I know there is a lower-fat ricotta cheese out there you can use too. Or you can omit it altogether and stuff the shells with beef and some parmesan cheese.
Pasta Sauce: I used marinara because you can dress it up as you like. But you can definitely use your favorite pasta sauce from a preferred brand if you would like.
Mozzarella Cheese: I topped the shells with a little extra mozzarella cheese when I baked the shells in the oven.
What to serve with Stuffed Shells
When it comes to most Italian-inspired dishes, the preferred side dish option is some good ole garlic bread. In fact, I have a Cheesy Garlic Bread recipe on the blog that you can make to go on the side of this dish.
I always serve the stuffed shells with something green as well such as an easy side salad, Caesar salad, sauteed green beans, or cooked asparagus for a complete meal.
How to Freeze Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Stuffing the shells would be quite simple. All you would need to do is prepare the recipe up until the step of adding the pasta sauce.
- Cook the shells to al dente. Rinse the shells and lay them out on a baking sheet to let the shells dry.
- Cook and prepare the ground beef and ricotta cheese filling as laid out in the recipe.
- Begin to stuff the shells with the beef and cheese mixture and place the shells apart on a large baking sheet and put them in the freezer for about an hour.
- Next, add the shells to an aluminum foil pan or an airtight container and cover with plastic wrap or lid. When you’re ready to cook the dish, just cover with your favorite pasta sauce and some aluminum foil and bake on 350℉ for 45-50 minutes.
Commonly Asked Questions
I did not in my recipe. I found that it still makes for a delicious filling.
I may have cooked my pasta for about 5-10 minutes in boiling water. For this recipe, you want the shells to be cooked al dente (not completely). The shells will continue to cook in the oven.
If you are wanting to do meal prep with this recipe but not cook the dish completely right away, I would leave it in the refrigerator uncooked for 2 days. There may be other sources who would say longer, but I wouldn’t leave uncooked in the fridge for longer than 2 days. If you need more time, I would just freeze them.
Yes. In fact, this is a good option if you are going for a vegetarian dish and don’t plan on adding meat. You can add some chopped spinach, mushrooms, or just about any other veggie you like.
If you like recipes like this stuffed pasta shells recipe, you will enjoy the recipes below:
- Homemade Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Easy Pasta Bolognese
- Grilled Caesar Salad Recipe