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Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells

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 stuffed shells with meat sauce. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
  • 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 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


  • 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.
  • Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce into a greased 13x9-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.
  • Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake until cheese is melted, 5-10 minutes longer.
Nutrition Facts
2 stuffed shells: 405 calories, 22g fat (10g saturated fat), 90mg cholesterol, 730mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 25g protein.


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Average Rating:
  • C
    Feb 11, 2021

    Tastes fine. Prep farce Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min. Then in step 2 "Cover and refrigerate overnight."

  • Delaney
    Feb 6, 2021


  • Susan
    Nov 27, 2020

    This recipe was excellent! Fed our family of 4 with some leftover, and everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Clara
    Jun 2, 2020

    What is Italian cheese blend? I am making this dish right now and will have to do the best I can. I have no way of going to the store at this time since we have curfews in place and stores are closed.

  • Garry
    May 11, 2020

    I am new to cooking so this took me awhile to me but it was one of the best recipes I've tried so far.

  • Lisa
    Apr 10, 2020

    thank you. My daughter wanted stuffed shells so together me and her make this recipe. It was a great experience and the stuffed shells were awesome.

  • notneb90
    Mar 11, 2020

    Best Stuffed shell recipe I have! My son asked for shells with meat so I searched the web and came up with this one. Everyone said it was a keeper. I did not make ahead or chill it and it came out perfect.

  • dschultz01
    Mar 3, 2020

    Cut this recipe in half for my wife and I. We really like them. I did not bother to make them the day before, and they came out fine. I also waited to sprinkle the cheese on top until after I removed the cover during the final minutes of baking.

  • Katie
    Dec 2, 2019

    I have made this time and time again. It is the BEST and easiest stuffed shells recipe I have found. My family gets so excited when they find out I am making it. I never make any changes to the recipe other than at times I don't make it ahead the day before and it still turns out delicious! Thank you so much for submitting this recipe Blaire!

  • tennis-twin
    Jun 27, 2018

    Very good! Love the fact that you can make ahead and bake when you need it! The pesto added a nice flavor.