This Stuffed Shells with Meat recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Seasoned ground beef and lots of cheese come together to make the perfect stuffed shell filling.
Combine ground beef and two cheese to make the perfect stuffed shells
Stuffed pastas are my ultimate comfort food. When I was a kid I would only order either ravioli or stuff shells when we went to Italian restaurants.
When it comes to comfort, these meat stuffed shells do not disappoint. Jumbo stuffed pasta shells are filled with a hearting stuffing then baked with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
This is a perfect meal to make for family dinner, meal prep or for a friend in need. The best part is that you can freeze it just before baking and then bake from frozen.
- Frying pan and spatula
- Measuring spoons and measuring cups
- Large mixing bowl
- 9×13 baking dish or casserole dish
I prefer to serve this hearty dish with a simple side salad. My favorite one to serve is my lemon kale caesar salad.
You may also want to serve this with some crusty homemade garlic bread or some homemade no knead focaccia.
- Jumbo pasta shells
- Ground beef
- Marinara sauce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt
- Italian seasoning
You can use many types of meat to make the filling for these meat stuffed shells. I like to use 80/20 ground beef, but you can use a lean ground beef instead.
Instead of beef you can use ground pork, ground turkey, ground chicken or even ground Italian sausage. If you are using a lower fat meat for the filling you may want to use extra cheese to make it more satisfying.
You can mix extra vegetables into the filling like some sauteed garlic and onion, finely chopped spinach or even some shredded zucchini.
I like to use shredded mozzarella on top of the casserole before baking, but you can use an Italian cheese blend instead. My favorite jarred marinara sauce is Rao’s so thats what I use for this stuffed pasta shells recipe, but you can use a homemade marinara sauce or even a homemade meat sauce.
To add extra protein to this dish you can mix an egg into the stuffed shell filling and you can swap out the ricotta cheese for cottage cheese. If you don’t like the curds in cottage cheese you can process it in a food processor until smooth prior to using in the filling.
How to make stuffed shells with meat
Step 1: Prepare stuff shell Filling
To begin, heat a frying pan or large skillet over medium heat and add the ground beef to the pan. Season the beef with italian seasoning and salt.
Brown and break up into crumbles until cooked through – about 7 minutes. Drain any excess grease from the beef. Set aside to cool slightly.
Then, preheat oven to 375F and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Boil jumbo shells until al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside for stuffing.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, ricotta cheese, 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese
Step 2: stuff shells and assemble casserole
Next, spoon out and spread a layer of marinara sauce along the bottom of the casserole dish.
Take the cooked shells and stuff each one with about 2 tbsp of the ground beef and cheese mixture. Layer in the casserole dish with the seam side up.
Cover the stuffed shells with the remaining sauce and the rest of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Step 3: bake and serve
Cover the casserole with tin foil and bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly, top with fresh basil or fresh parsley and enjoy!
Storage, reheating, and freezing
Allow the stuffed shells recipe to cool completely. Then, leave in the casserole dish and cover or transfer to an airtight container. Place in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through. Refresh with a little extra pasta sauce before serving.
You can also freeze these meat stuffed shells. Assemble the casserole and freeze prior to baking. Cover tightly and store in the freezer for up to 3 months for best flavor.
Bake from frozen at 325F for an hour covered. Then, uncover and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese on top.
Check out these other comforting Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Sheet Pan Chicken and Gnocchi
- Baked Tortellini with Chicken
- Cherry Tomato Pasta with Chicken
You can find the full recipe below. If you make this recipe, please rate and review it in the comments, or share it with me on Instagram!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tsp italian seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 8oz jumbo shell pasta for stuffing
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese – separated
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 28oz jar of marinara sauce
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the ground beef to the pan. Season with italian seasoning and salt. Brown and break up into crumbles until cooked through – about 7 minutes. Drain any excess grease from the beef and set aside to cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Boil jumbo shells in salted water. Set aside for stuffing.
- In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, ricotta cheese, 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese
- Spread a layer of marinara sauce along the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Take the cooked shells and stuff each one with about 2 tbsp of the ground beef and cheese mixture. Layer in the casserole dish with the seam side up.
- Cover the stuffed shells with the remainder of the marinara sauce and the rest of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the casserole with tin foil and bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!
- You can use ground turkey, ground pork or ground sausage in place of the ground beef