Vegetarian Stuffed Shells with ricotta cheese are Italian comfort food. Jumbo pasta shells are filled with a mixture of ricotta cheese and a mixture of Italian cheeses including Parmesan, Provolone, Mozzarella, Asiago and Fontina cheeses and fresh parsley topped with your favorite tomato sauce!
Ahh… stuffed shells. They’re just so, so good. All of that yummy, melted cheese in between pasta topped with tomato sauce is really just goodness for your taste buds. It’s Italian comfort food for sure.
What’s more is that you can make this recipe ahead of time and just bake it before you’re ready to serve it. It’s perfect for weekend dinners or parties. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like stuffed shells.
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I’ve included a list of substitutions below, before the recipe card. I encourage you to use fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley for this recipe as it gives the cheese mixture a nice fresh flavor.
Also, if you want to make the BEST stuffed shells, I recommend grating/shredding one to two ounces each of the Italian cheeses for the cheese mixture. It’ll be fantastic. However, it is costly because good Italian cheeses are pricy but, worth it. Plus, not everyone has the time to cut up the cheeses.
Did you know that you can make your own ricotta cheese in your Instant Pot! It’s very easy with just two ingredients- milk and white vinegar. It comes in handy when you can’t run out to the store. It’s also simply delicious!
Additionally, what will make this recipe BEST, is using homemade tomato sauce. My recipe is only four ingredients and is simple to make… I promise! It makes a big batch of sauce you can freeze for later use.
I never use store-bought jarred sauce and if I ever bought it, my husband would think I was donating it or that someone else put it in my cart and I didn’t notice. LOL! But, if you use it, I’m not judging at all.
Vegetarian Italian Stuffed Shells with Ricotta Cheese
Usually, I’ll serve stuffed shells with my homemade meat sauce but, that depends on what I have in my freezer. You can make my popular and delicious Italian Sunday Gravy (tomato sauce) to put on it that will keep it vegetarian.
However, I try to serve this dish with my BEST homemade meatballs, if I have time to make them too or if they’re in my freezer. They freeze so well!
Sometimes, I like to serve this pasta dish with grilled Italian sausage, although sometimes I make it my air fryer. A great vegetable side dish for stuffed shells is broccoli rabe that I added satueed garlic in EVOO and lemon juice to. I know I’m making you very hungry.
What I like about this particular recipe is that you will use ALL of the jumbo shells pasta in the box! You won’t have 10 leftover shells because this recipe makes enough cheese filling for all of them. This is good for feeding eight people for Sunday dinner or to eat leftovers or freeze for nights you don’t want to cook dinner.
- Use part-skim milk ricotta cheese instead of whole milk; It will be lower in fat and the taste will change.
- Use all shredded mozzarella cheese instead of the Italian cheese blend.
- If you have time and money, you can grate each of the cheeses separately- 1-2 oz each.
- Use curly parsley instead of flat leaf parsley.
- If you don’t have fresh parsley, use 1 tbsp of dried parsley but, I don’t recommend it.
Add more tomato sauce if you’d like. I know some people like it very saucy! Make this recipe when you want Italian comfort food and a few leftovers. Buon appetito!
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Stuffed Shells with Ricotta Cheese
- 12 oz jumbo shells pasta
- 32 oz tomato sauce (does not need to be heated)
- 32 oz Galbani whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley may use curly parsley
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz 6 cheese Italian blend shredded cheese- provolone, mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, asiago, fontina
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese divded
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic or powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- First, cook the jumbo shells pasta according for package directions for ten minutes. Drain in a colander until ready to fill.
- Meanwhile, make cheese mixture: Add all of the cheese mixture ingredients except for 4 oz of the shredded mozzarella cheese (will be saved for the top) to a large bowl and stir together until combined.
- Next, preheat oven to 350F.
- Then, in a large baking or roasting pan (you may use pans if needed,) put about half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan- just enough to thinly coat it.
- Next, begin filling the cooked and drained pasta shells with the cheese mixture. Do not overfill them.
- Then, ladle all of the remaining tomato sauce on top of the stuffed shells and bake at 350, covered with foil for 40 minutes.
- Next, take off aluminum foil and sprinkle 4 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the stuffed shells and put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes uncovered. Garnish with more fresh parsley, if desired.