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Pirate Pasta Shells

Grandfather loved pirate stories and good pasta. When we make his stuffed shells, it reminds us of his favorite tropical places and adventures. —Kathy Noll, Laureldale, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1 package (12 ounces) jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 logs (11 ounces each) fresh goat cheese or 2 cartons (15 ounces each) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Zucchini strips, optional
  • Additional marinara sauce, optional


  • Preheat oven to 425°. Cook pasta shells according to package directions for al dente; drain.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix goat cheese, basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt. Spread 1-1/4 cups marinara sauce into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  • Fill each shell with 1 rounded tablespoon cheese mixture; arrange over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. If desired, make X's over the top using crisscrossed zucchini strips.
  • Bake, covered, 25 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted. If desired, warm additional sauce and serve with shells.
Nutrition Facts
3 stuffed shells: 305 calories, 13g fat (8g saturated fat), 61mg cholesterol, 762mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 16g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Debra Torres
    May 20, 2015

    This was tasty and a nice change for my family. I made sure to use whole milk ricotta as the recipe suggests. Part skim ricotta does not do well in recipies like this. I also cut some flat leaf parsley and laid the leaves on top of the cheese before baking. This adds a pretty touch.

  • powellcou
    Apr 25, 2015

    My 2 year old and 5 year old had a blast helping me make this, but half of our family of 6 liked it. Next time I would probably do more marina and a little less ricotta cheese, or try goat cheese.

  • Jenna092
    Mar 5, 2015

    This was a pretty good recipe, but needed a lot more seasonings. I made homemade pasta sauce, but jar sauce would be much easier. Otherwise, the cheese mixture was great and the leftovers were even better!

  • JGa2595176
    Feb 9, 2015

    Very easy to prepare and love the fun concept twist with the X for pirate theme. Husband complained it was a bit bland time would give it a kick with more spices (and likely an addition of meat). I think overall, a nice kid friendly dish that I would make again for others, perhaps a fun potluck meal or meal gift for another.

  • dublinlab
    Jan 26, 2015

    This was very good. I used 2. 8oz packages of cream cheese . I added some hot sauce too. I would make this again. Janet FE

  • ebramkamp
    Jan 24, 2015

    This is a yummy meatless dish and easy to make. I used a roasted red pepper marinara sauce because that is what I had on hand. I served this with long, shaved pieces of parmesan cheese. The leftovers heated up well and were even more delicious then the first night.