Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe
Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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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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pattibourey User ID: 3847259 229756
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 :)"

CYNTN37043 User ID: 4982896 177968
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."

Igraine32 User ID: 7006585 111004
Reviewed Mar. 27, 2014

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

jstoltz User ID: 3178346 212466
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."

luigimon User ID: 1692040 184333
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!"

kardr3 User ID: 3343346 132095
Reviewed Jan. 14, 2014

"The family loved it. I thought it was ok. It was versatile enough to make a few with the meat sauce only, no cheese, so that my daughter who can't eat a lot of chese could enjoy them as well. I probably would make again since they were easy and my family liked them so much."

thompmn User ID: 5783835 177967
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2012

"Very good. Takes time to make but worth it."

bjsilve0 User ID: 172187 116762
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2011

"Made 15 shells. Not 20 and they were filled to the top but not rounded. Good flavor but too much cheese for my taste."

bejowe User ID: 3151257 195684
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2011

"love this recipe! it turns out better than my lasagna! I never put the pesto in and I use whatever cheese I have on hand and it still turns out great"

sklnurse User ID: 1013089 132094
Reviewed Sep. 24, 2011

"This will now be my go-to recipe for stuffed shells. I had never used pesto before, and bought a dry mix which is probably not ideal, but these were absolutely delicious. I did refrigerate overnight. I also used lean ground beef and low fat ricotta."

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