Taco-Filled Pasta Shells Recipe
Taco-Filled Pasta Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Taco-Filled Pasta Shells Recipe

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I've been stuffing pasta shells with different fillings for years, but my family enjoys this version with taco-seasoned meat the most. The frozen shells are so convenient, because you can take out only the number you need for a single-serving lunch or family dinner. Just add zippy taco sauce and bake. —Marge Hodel Roanoke, Illinois
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.
MAKES:12 servings
Contest Winning Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.
MAKES: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS (for each casserole):
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Transfer to a bowl; cool. Chill for 1 hour.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Gently toss with butter. Fill each shell with about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture. Place 12 shells in a freezer container. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. To prepare remaining shells, spoon salsa into a greased 9-in. square baking dish. Top with stuffed shells and taco sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheeses and chips. Bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve with sour cream and onions.
  4. To use frozen shells: Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours (shells will be partially frozen). Spoon salsa into a greased 9-in. square baking dish; top with shells and taco sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with cheeses and chips; proceed as directed. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).
Originally published as Taco-Filled Pasta Shells in Quick Cooking January/February 2001, p27

Reviews for Taco-Filled Pasta Shells

AVERAGE RATING
(82)
RATING DISTRIBUTION
5 Star
 (71)
4 Star
 (10)
3 Star
 (0)
2 Star
 (0)
1 Star
 (1)
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MY REVIEW
Reviewed May. 31, 2016

"Great recipe. I also added refried beans to the meat to act as a binding agent and to add more protein."

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Feb. 19, 2016

"These were a big hit at our house. I'm looking forward to using the rest of them when I need a convenient, healthy meal.

I am always looking for ways to add more veggies to my meals. To this I added diced onion, celery, and red bell peppers. With the additional bulk I had left over filling.
I used a cookie scoop to fill the shells, it worked very well."

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2016

"At our house we call this Pastaco. My daughter chose these for part of her graduation party which was a Mexican menu."

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Dec. 3, 2015

"This is a go-to recipe for me - great way to make lots of lunches ahead of time too!"

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2015

"so easy to make, very tasty."

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