Italian Stuffed Shells
Total TimePrep: 50 min. Bake: 35 min.
- 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 shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 24 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
- 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.
- Meanwhile, combine egg, cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Stuff shells with cheese mixture.
- 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°.
Test Kitchen Tips
Nutrition Facts3 stuffed shells and sauce: 430 calories, 17g fat (8g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 866mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 32g protein.
May 4, 2018
I love a recipe that has some wiggle room for customization without changing the dish into a completely new creation. I, too, like several other reviewers, substituted ricotta cheese for most of the cottage cheese. The container of ricotta was 12 oz. so I used it and added 4 oz. of cottage cheese to fill out the quantity required. I slightly undercooked the shells so that they would retain their shape and not fall apart when filling/baking. All other ingredients and procedures were followed as written. I liked the dish; it was a nice change from and easier prep than lasagna. My husband was less enthusiastic. When I make this again, I think that I may try the modifying the sauce by either using half oregano-half dried basil or by using Italian seasoning. The oregano was a bit overpowering and needed a boost with some basil. I also think that I will add about half a teaspoon of stevia (or sugar) to the sauce; it might balance off the sharpness (bitterness) of the tomato paste. I split the recipe into two containers, baked one and froze the other. The size of the dish does matter; I kept the shells close to one another in a 7x9-inch glass dish so that they would retain their shape and the cheese mixture would not ooze out of the shells. We added a green salad to the meal and it was great!
Apr 29, 2018
It annoys the hell out of me when recipes pop up for Italian lasagna, stuffed shells etc that call for cottage cheese. I'm sorry but no true italian would use anything other than ricotta cheese. If you must call it lasagna then please don't call it Italian. Because it isn't.
Mar 30, 2018
HELLO!!!!!!! ITALIAN stuffed shell are NOt made with cottage cheese!!!!! Absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!!9
Feb 6, 2018
Pretty good base recipe I used cream cheese instead of cottage cheese, added parsley and ginger and used tomato sauce instead of paste as well as diced steak instead of ground beef the adult men in my home fell in love with it and demand I make it once a week! I also sweetened the sauce with organic light brown sugar.
Jan 14, 2018
Great receipe, being from the Cayman Islands I added a bit of jerk dry seasoning instead of just salt and pepper and added mild cheddar cheese for a cheesier dish at the end. ITS A HIT IN OUR HOME??
Jan 7, 2018
Excellent base recipe but needed a few things! I added salt, pepper, a general Italian seasonings mix, and a packet of Splenda to the sauce so it wasn't so bitter from the paste, and used 2 beef bouillon cubes instead of granules since my grocery store didn't stock granules. The cottage cheese is great...not as heavy as ricotta and I didn't have an after-taste that I sometimes have after eating ricotta. I cooked extra shells just in case I had any that broke apart. The shells should only be cooked 10 minutes for al dente. My husband and even my 5- year old loved it!!
Dec 16, 2017
I've used cottage cheese (not ricotta) for my meals akin to this all my life. ricotta altho good, I've never gotten the 'wow' when using it. prob just a preference but for my/our tastes I'll continue with my cottage cheese bcz to me it's still very Italian
Nov 3, 2017
Sooo good and my 8 yr old loved it! I made it as is, I also used the tomato paste with Italian seasonings. After reading reviews, I am curious to try it with ricotta instead of cottage cheese but I'm very happy with the original recipe.
Oct 19, 2017
Why not use Ricotta instead of cottage cheese? Then it would be more ITALIAN!!
Aug 8, 2017
My husband and mother and I loved it..very hearty and delicious. I served a side salad and buttered French rolls, and could not finish it all. The only change I made was not using the cottage cheese, because we are not fans.
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