Italian Stuffed Shells Recipe
Italian Stuffed Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Italian Stuffed Shells Recipe

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A dear friend first brought over this casserole. Now I take it to other friends' homes and to potlucks, because it's always a big hit! —Beverly Austin, Fulton, Missouri
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. Bake: 35 min.
MAKES:8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. Bake: 35 min.
MAKES: 8 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 24 jumbo shell noodles, cooked and drained

Nutritional Facts

4 stuffed shells and sauce: 430 calories, 17g fat (8g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 866mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 32g protein.


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in water, tomato paste, bouillon and oregano. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine egg, cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Stuff shells with cheese mixture.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange shells in a greased 13x9-in. or 3-qt. baking dish. Pour meat sauce over shells. Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer.
    Freeze option: After assembling, cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake as directed, adding remaining 1 cup mozzarella after 30-40 minutes and increasing time as necessary for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°.
    Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Italian Stuffed Shells in Country Ground Beef 1993, p54

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

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

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delowenstein User ID: 3766053 255665
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2016

"I tried this recipe today and used ground turkey in place of beef! I didn't drain the meat as it was lean ground turkey! I did add 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper to the meat sauce! I used 1 beef bouillon cube instead of the granules! Instead of just Mozzarella cheese, I used the cottage cheese, mixture of 6-cheese Italian blend and the Parmesan cheese! I found that the cheese filling filled about 1-1/2 dozen jumbo pasta shells! I also baked the shells in my 3-qt. casserole. This was a very tasty and filling dish! I think what I might do the next time is stuff the shells and layer half in the casserole dish, then add half the sauce, stuff the balance of the shells and layer, then add the rest of the sauce, cover and bake the 1/2 hr., then top with rest of 6-cheese Italian blend-I'll just see how that goes. I did assemble the casserole as recipe stated and it did work out! delowenstein"

jstowellsupermom User ID: 7101358 255097
Reviewed Oct. 6, 2016

"Great meal!! SUPER family friendly! I had my 5 & 7 year old stuff the shells so they of course loved supper!"

Lamandra User ID: 8447265 229427
Reviewed Jul. 12, 2015

"I used ricotta instead of cottage cheese and added saut?ed chopped spinach to the shells filling. Absolutely delicious and great for entertaining - a hit with young & old!"

jetthill User ID: 8061543 221640
Reviewed Feb. 28, 2015

"I followed the recipe as was a big hit with everyone.....I can see us going back to this many times......"

angieact1 User ID: 1990802 221241
Reviewed Feb. 23, 2015

"My family really liked this! Thanks, we will be making again."

jlmckinion User ID: 2698248 221171
Reviewed Feb. 23, 2015

"To make this have any flavor at all, I would have to totally re-make the recipe. It was ok, but really had no flavor."

1katzzee1 User ID: 7687853 220680
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2015

"It sounds Wonderful and so easy!!

Whether you are using Ricotta or Cottage Cheese doesn't really matter, you can always adjust the recipe to suit your taste, Without slamming the original recipe ladies!! That's The Fun of cooking, tweaking a recipe to suit your own taste!
This one looks like a Winner!! As soon as I have a Kitchen again, I will be making this dish!! Thank you for sharing...."

jwilton User ID: 3787251 220658
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2015

"We've made this recipe for years using our own sauce... but we add frozen chopped spinach, and the ground beef to the cheese and stuff all inside the jumbo shells...One of my favourite meals."

LouiseWebb User ID: 8065401 214759
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2014

"This was great! My family were very pleased with it in want it again soon1"

ChefKK User ID: 7297399 46536
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2013

"I ended making quite a few substitutions in order to use most of the items that I had in my cabinet, but it turned out great! I used Italian Sausage instead of beef, no garlic, 1 cup chopped onion, 2 cups of hot water, 1/4 cup of Prego Spaghetti Sauce (Marinera), no beef bouillon, lots of ground oregano (season to taste), the can of tomato paste and about 8oz of Medium Shells. So yes, I had to stuff all of these minature shells! When I served it, I garnished it with parsely. I did not have any cheese left to sprinkle on top.

For the cheese mixture, I split it up into 2 batches: (1st batch) 1/2 cup of Cottage Cheese, 3/4 cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese, 1 cup of Mozarella Cheese, 1 egg (2nd batch) 1/2 cup of Cottage Cheese, 1 cup of Mozarella Cheese, 1 egg
One tip about the shells: If you cook them according to the package, and let them sit for a few minutes after you rinse them with hot water, they will be the perfect tecture. Make sure they are cool to touch before you handle them though!"

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