Perfect Stuffed Pasta Shells

Updated on October 5, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

I Wonder Who Invented...

the conchiglie, the shell-shaped pasta? With their ridged exteriors, ribbed, and striated exterior like the exoskeleton of a winkle or cowrie, shell pasta can absorb and luxuriate in sauces like no other pasta ever invented.

And that's just the beginning!

The jumbo-sized shells can not only sop up the sauces, they can also cradle whatever filling your little heart desires. It's like making tortellini without all the fuss of rolling, folding, crimping and praying.

Let's get started!

Recipes in this Article

Kid-Approved Stuffed Shell Recipes

  • Cheesy Taco
  • Pizza
  • Sloppy Joe

Recipes for My Meat-Loving Grown Ups

  • Buffalo Chicken
  • Shrimp and Spinach Souffle
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu

Vegetarian Favorites

  • Pumpkin
  • Mushroom-Kale


Kid-Approved Recipes

Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells

I don't know anyone who doesn't like the flavor of tacos; cheese, flavorful spicy ground beef (or veggie crumbles if you are vegetarian), and salsa. These taco stuffed shells from DinnerThenDessert.com are easy enough that you could make them on a weeknight, kid-friendly, and the pasta shells don't shatter and fall apart like crisp taco shells do. I think it's a win-win.

Pizza Stuffed Shells

If you're not in the mood for taco-flavor, how about pizza? We have visited the blog PlainChicken.com many times. Stephanie Parker's recipes never disappoint, and this one for pizza-stuffed shells is another winner. Cheese and pepperoni snuggle into jumbo cooked pasta shells and then luxuriate in a baking dish with homemade or jarred spaghetti sauce. Just add a tossed salad and you've got a tasty, easy meal.

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells

While we're on the topic of family- (kid) friendly main dishes, how about a sloppy joe-flavored stuffed shell? Alli (TornedoughAlli.com) is the mom of four energetic kids, lives in the Midwest, and (incredibly) has the time to create a blog and share her cooking ideas with us. These sloppy joe shells have all of the flavors of the sandwich without the mess.

Recipes for My Meat-Loving Grown Ups

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells

If you're in the mood for more grown-up tastes, what about buffalo chicken? This dish from FlavorMosaic.com combines the familiar flavors of chicken, bleu cheese, and hot sauce in a great dish that takes only 30 minutes to prepare.

Shrimp and Spinach Souffle Stuffed Shells

Source

I created this recipe for my family when I was lucky enough to find mushrooms and cooked shrimp meat on sale at my local grocery store.

Ingredients

  • 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 12-oz. pkg Stouffer's spinach soufflé, thawed (see note below for substitution)
  • 3/4 lb. cooked shrimp meat
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • OR your favorite Alfredo sauce from a jar
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or from the deli case
  • grated Parmesan for garnish, (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook jumbo pasta shells according to instructions on the package. Rinse, drain, and set aside.
  2. While pasta shells cook, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the mushrooms and garlic and cook about 1 minute. Mushrooms and garlic will begin to color. Scrape into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spray a 11x7-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Add thawed spinach souffle and cooked shrimp meat to mushroom mixture in bowl. Stir in bread crumbs and grated cheese.
  5. Stuff cooked pasta shells with the mushroom/spinach/shrimp mixture and place in prepared pan.
  6. If making your own sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until tender. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan.
  7. Pour alfredo sauce over shells. Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

Substitution for Stouffers Spinach Souffle

This is how to make your own "spinach soufflé" for this recipe if you cannot find the Stouffers version at your grocery store:

  • 9 cups fresh spinach, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Wash spinach leaves. Place in a large (5-6 quart) pan. Cover and cook, stirring several times, until leaves are wilted. Pour leaves into a colander set in a bowl; let drain. When cool to touch, squeeze excess liquid from spinach with your hands. Reserve liquid.

In a food processor or blender, puree spinach with 3 tablespoons of the reserved liquid, eggs, flour, garlic, and lemon peel. Add salt to taste.


Cordon Bleu Stuffed Shells

All of the flavors of Chicken Cordon Bleu wrapped in jumbo pasta shells; chicken, Dijon, Gruyere, and crispy prosciutto. Yummy!

Vegetarian Favorites

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

I have gone to Chungah's blog, DamnDelicious.net, many times when doing research for my articles. She never disappoints. This recipe for sweet/savory pumpkin-stuffed shells is so good, I promise that you won't miss the meat.

Mushroom Kale Stuffed Shells

Kale is an absolute super food! It's low in calories; high in iron, vitamins A, C, and K; high in calcium; and full of antioxidants. Plus cooked kale and mushrooms taste wonderful together. GarlicAndZest.com has created a wonderful pasta dish for us with their mushroom-kale stuffed shells.

© 2017 Linda Lum

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    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Jackie - Thank you so much. I love pasta, and the only thing better is pasta STUFFED with goodies. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 7 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      MM yum, these look so good. I will sure save this and try many if not all! Thanks for sharing.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, you're quite the comedian today! Thank you. Only thing that would make this better is if I could cook up a batch of one of these for you today. Happy Birthday dear friend.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, some of us are just slower than others. (Smile). I'm glad you liked these. When should I come down for dinner?

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - Out of all of them, you picked the one that is my recipe. I'm happy happy. Thanks so much.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Rachel - I didn't even have those two things. No stuffed shells. Period. Mom's "spaghetti" (I have to use quotation marks) was a half-pound of hamburger, a chopped onion, and a can of tomato sauce.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Excellent "stuff" here. I think my family will like these recipes. Thank you,

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You're starting to come around to my way of eating now, Linda, and that's good to see. Thanks for this...I love me pasta!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Oh, this looks divine. My dad would really like those Stouffers spinach shells. He spent a career in the food industry, with a background in food science. He worked for Stouffers for many years.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Linda, I grew up on shells being stuffed with only two stuffings; either ricotta and mozzarella cheeses or the hamburg and spinach (like ravioli) stuffing. It's nice to see different ideas. Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings to you.

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