Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe
Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe

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4.5 16 15
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Here’s a rich and comforting dish that’s terrific right away or made ahead and baked the next day. Pesto makes a surprising filling for these cheesy and satisfying shells. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.
MAKES:10 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.
MAKES: 10 servings


  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce, divided

Nutritional Facts

2 each: 405 calories, 22g fat (10g saturated fat), 90mg cholesterol, 730mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 25g protein


  1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions to al dente; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups Italian cheese blend, Parmesan cheese, pesto, egg and half of the beef mixture.
  2. Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce into a greased 13-in x 9-in. baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture into pasta shells; place in baking dish. Combine remaining beef mixture and spaghetti sauce; pour over shells. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 10 servings.
Originally published as Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells in Simple & Delicious June/July 2011, p42

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.

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Reviewed Jul. 18, 2015

"Excellent dish!! I don't usually change anything when I try a new recipe, but this time I realized last minute that I was all out of Parmesan cheese. I substituted Poor Man's Parmesan, a recipe I found on the internet, and it turned out great! I just thought I would share that with everyone. Next time though, I will use Parmesan cheese, unless someone empties mine again :)"

Reviewed Oct. 15, 2014

"Delicious! The pesto is really good in the filling. I used lower fat ricotta and it worked fine. This recipe makes a lot, but it reheats well if you have leftovers."

Reviewed Mar. 27, 2014

"Good old comfort food. I made 20 and still had a bit to spare."

Reviewed Jan. 29, 2014

"We liked the addition of pesto sauce. I used 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and one hot sausage link. I only used 1/2 of the amount of the cheeses. It filled 18 shells."

Reviewed Jan. 18, 2014

"Loved this! I prepared it on Sunday so we could just throw it in the oven after work on Monday. It was wonderful and it goes in my Favorites!"

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