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Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe
Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe

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When I was living in California, I tasted this rich cheesy pasta dish at a neighborhood Italian restaurant. I got the recipe and made a few changes to it in my own kitchen. I'm happy to share it with you. —Lori Mecca, Grants Pass, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 50 min.
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 50 min.
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 1 pound Johnsonville® Mild Italian Links
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup 4% cottage cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 24 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Nutritional Facts

2 stuffed shells equals 397 calories, 23 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 94 mg cholesterol, 1,097 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 24 g protein.


  1. In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach, cream cheese and egg. Add 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and cinnamon if desired.
  2. Stuff pasta shells with sausage mixture. Arrange in two 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Combine the sauce ingredients; spoon over shells.
  3. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Cheese-Stuffed Shells in Taste of Home April/May 1995, p25

Nutritional Facts

2 stuffed shells equals 397 calories, 23 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 94 mg cholesterol, 1,097 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 24 g protein.

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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Reviewed Nov. 12, 2014

"I have been making this since it first appeared in your magazine, which I believe was 1995! I am preparing it now to take to a shut in. This has become my main dish for people recovering from illness or injury. EVERYONE who I have made it for simply loves it. It is easy to transport and easy for them to reheat. We have a garden and I can my own spaghetti sauce which I use instead of preparing the one in the recipe. Thanks for a keeper."

Reviewed Sep. 17, 2014

"This is amazing!"

Reviewed Sep. 7, 2014

"I didn't add the spinach or the cottage cheese. This was AWESOME!! Love the creamy taste of the cream cheese in there. Wish I could give it more stars! :)"

Reviewed Apr. 5, 2014

"This recipe is SO, SO GOOD! Doesn't need tweaking or anything!!"

Reviewed Mar. 2, 2014

"This is as good as everybody said it was. Only change I made was I used turkey sausage, otherwise didn't change a thing and it was great."

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