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Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe

Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe

When I was living in California, I tasted this rich cheesy pasta dish at a neighborhood Italian restaurant. I got the recipe and made a few changes to it in my own kitchen. I'm happy to share it with you. —Lori Mecca, Grants Pass, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 50 min. YIELD:12 servings


  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons each dried basil and parsley flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon each sugar and dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • 1. In a skillet, brown sausage and onion; drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach, cream cheese and egg. Add 1 cup mozzarella, Cheddar, cottage cheese, Parmesan, salt, pepper and cinnamon if desired; mix well. Stuff shells and arrange in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine sauce ingredients; mix well. Spoon over shells. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Nutritional Facts

2 each: 397 calories, 23g fat (14g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 1097mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 24g protein.

Reviews for Cheese-Stuffed Shells

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Reviewed Jun. 23, 2017

"These shell are delightfully cheesy and tasty!!"

Reviewed May. 5, 2016

"I didn't cook my pasta shells so long since everything was really only warming in the oven. The other reason I didn't cook them so long was because I took the wonderful idea in a review here and began sending the shells to shut-ins or people I know don't cook for themselves much. Since I knew they would have to rewarm them, I didn't want them overcooked."

Reviewed May. 26, 2015

"These shells were absolutely amazing! I omitted the sausage as I was serving them as a side dish, but I also ate the leftovers as a meatless main later in the week and they were equally as good when starring as the main dish. I'm positive these will be equally delicious with the sausage added! My significant other couldn't stop popping shells, he was addicted!"

Sue Zappa
Reviewed Apr. 10, 2015

"Oh, this is one of our family's favorite recipes! The only change I make is to use a 28 oz. jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce since I'm usually in a hurry to get supper on the table. We love the cheesiness (is that a word?) with the pasta shells & sauce. A little taste of heaven! :)"

Reviewed Nov. 12, 2014

"I have been making this since it first appeared in your magazine, which I believe was 1995! I am preparing it now to take to a shut in. This has become my main dish for people recovering from illness or injury. EVERYONE who I have made it for simply loves it. It is easy to transport and easy for them to reheat. We have a garden and I can my own spaghetti sauce which I use instead of preparing the one in the recipe. Thanks for a keeper."

Reviewed Sep. 17, 2014

"This is amazing!"

Reviewed Sep. 7, 2014

"I didn't add the spinach or the cottage cheese. This was AWESOME!! Love the creamy taste of the cream cheese in there. Wish I could give it more stars! :)"

Reviewed Apr. 5, 2014

"This recipe is SO, SO GOOD! Doesn't need tweaking or anything!!"

Reviewed Mar. 2, 2014

"This is as good as everybody said it was. Only change I made was I used turkey sausage, otherwise didn't change a thing and it was great."

Reviewed Feb. 1, 2014

"These were amazing. I did not add the spinach though. I had my boyfriend's parents over and they loved it! Big hit!"

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