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Perfect Stuffed Pasta Shells

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

Get creative with these stuffed pasta recipes!

Get creative with these stuffed pasta recipes!

Conchiglie—Perfect Pasta for Stuffing

With their ridged exteriors, ribbed and striated exteriors like the exoskeleton of a winkle or cowrie, conchiglie, or shell pasta, they 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, but 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


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.

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

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)

Instructions

  1. Cook jumbo pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Rinse, drain, and set aside.
  2. While the pasta shells cook, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Mushrooms and garlic will begin to color. Scrape into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spray an 11x7-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Add thawed spinach souffle and cooked shrimp meat to the mushroom mixture in a 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 the shells. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the 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 Stouffer's version at your grocery store:

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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 the touch, squeeze excess liquid from the 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 are wrapped in jumbo pasta shells; chicken, Dijon, Gruyere, and crispy prosciutto. Yummy!

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 that I promise you won't miss the meat.

Mushroom Kale Stuffed Shells

Kale is an absolute superfood! 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