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Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe

Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe

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. YIELD: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


  • 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.

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells

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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!"

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."

Reviewed Oct. 12, 2012

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

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."

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"

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."

Reviewed Aug. 21, 2011

"This recipe was so easy to make. My whole family loved it and keeps asking me when I'm going to make it again.

Try it!!! You'll love it!!!"

Reviewed Aug. 12, 2011

"I took this recipe to a club meeting and they all but licked the dish."

Reviewed Jul. 27, 2011

"Loved this recipe! It was better than other "stuffed shell" recipes that I've tried in the past. Since there were only three of us, I froze the leftovers for another time. They reheated in the microwave just fine."

Reviewed Jul. 13, 2011

"Popped it right in the oven as soon as I had it assembled and it turned out great! Love this recipe! Very tasty! A keeper for sure!"

Reviewed Jul. 6, 2011

"This was delicious. For a slightly healthier version I used extra-lean ground turkey and fat-free ricotta cheese. You can also get 100% Whole Wheat pasta shells too!"

Reviewed Jun. 23, 2011

"This was a very good dish. It was easy to make and I didn't even refrigerate it overnight. Turned out great, reheated well. My husband and I ate the whole 13x9 inch dish over the week. I didn't throw any letovers out. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I used lean ground beef, and low fat ricotta cheese. As stated above, I also did not put it in the refrigerator overnight. Will absolutely make again."

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Wine Pairings

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

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