How to make Italian stuffed shells casserole (video)

Print this recipe
Stuffed shells is a classic dish from Italian-American red sauce joints. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy to mess up. From shells that get too crispy in the oven to a stuffing that's too dry, there are a number of ways that this dish can go from "wow" to "ho-hum." But the recipe below overcomes all of these issues and more.
To start, you'll need a homemade marinara sauce with a rich flavor. Then you combine ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese and rich ground beef and stuff the mixture into the shells. Finally, bake the casserole covered until the very end, so that it doesn't dry out.
Advertisement
Cooktop Cove 
Italian stuffed shells casserole
6
15 minutes
45 minutes
1 hour
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, small diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 32-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 pound ground beef
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
18-24 jumbo shell noodles, cooked and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes. Cook until translucent, about 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the ground beef in a skillet in the other tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the tomato sauce until smooth.
Combine the cooled beef, cottage cheese, ricotta, half the mozzarella and Parmesan.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the base of a casserole dish. Stuff each of the shells with the beef mixture, and then line up in the dish. Top with a generous layer of tomato sauce and the remaining mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is slightly browned.
Advertisement
Resources TasteofHome.com
Print this recipe

We love this recipe because of how easy it is to whip up after a long day (it can be ready from start to finish in under an hour!), as well as how well the components of the dish manage to hit every flavor note perfectly.
November 29   ·  
Advertisement
Are there any foods that you love beyond reason? This incredible recipe combines the comfort of the South with a tang of Tex-Mex, and as if that wasn't enough, it's as easy as it can get.
November 28   ·  
Believe us, this is the ultimate combination.
November 27   ·  
This unbelievable casserole is the perfect comfort food to round off a busy workday.
November 23   ·  
Just 4 ingredients have you sitting down to a supper just like Grandma used to make.
November 28   ·  
November 21   ·