Italian Stuffed Shells

This dish is Italian comfort food at its best.

We love Italian Stuffed Shells so much. Literally exploding with flavor and they come together in about 30 to 40 minutes! Perfect for weeknights, but also a wonderful dinner party dish, too.

Baked stuffed shells


The ingredients are simple and straightforward for this iconic Italian comfort dish. There are so many different types of pasta, but we love large shells because they actually become the vessel for the sauce and cheese!

We love using Italian chicken sausage, but you could certainly go with pork. and have great flavor.

Simply use a knife to cut a strip down the side of the sausage link, and then remove the casing with your fingers.

Italian chicken sausage from the casing

Fresh herbs are wonderful in this dish.

We use a combination of fresh basil, parsley, and rosemary.

EXPERT TIP: If using dried herbs, go with half the amount called for in the recipe.

Herbs for the stuffed shells


Italian Stuffed Shells are literally stuffed with such an amazing sauce.

Simmering the crumbled chicken Italian sausage with the veggies and herbs locks in amazing flavor.

And the smell is so intoxicatingly good!

stuffed shells cooked filling

The stuffed shells bake for only 12 minutes on a layer of marina sauce, and a topping of the sauce.

So quick and so delicious!  You can make the marinara several days in advance, or, in a pinch, purchase a good-quality marinara from the market.

We love to serve it with crusty Italian bread and our Classic Caesar Salad!

Italian stuffed shells on a white plate next to herbs and a loaf of bread.

Ready to make awesome Italian comfort food? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and #howtofeedaloon!

Baked stuffed shells on a white plate next to herbs and a loaf of bread

Italian Baked Stuffed Shells

These are amazing Italian baked stuffed shells. Pure Italian flavor!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Italian Baked Stuffed Shells
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Stuffed shells
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 486kcal


  • 16 jumbo shells dried
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ cup celery chopped
  • 12 oz. chicken sausage Italian, casing removed
  • 1 small green bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp basil fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary fresh, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz fresh Ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plus a couple tablespoons of grated Romano cheese
  • oz smoked mozzarella cheese shredded
  • oz mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter chopped


  • In a pot of boiling lightly salted water set over high heat, cook the pasta shells for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse under cool running water.
  • Transfer the drained shells to bowl, toss them with a teaspoon of olive oil, and refrigerate them until they are needed.
  • In a large saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.
  • When the oil is nice and hot, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for about 20 seconds.
  • Add the celery, reduce the heat to medium, and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the celery is tender.
  • Add the chicken sausage and the green peppers and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the parsley and basil and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a bowl.
  • Mix the ricotta with the egg until it is smooth.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the grated Romano cheese, the mozzarella, and salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 F
  • Spread about 2 cups of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow casserole.
  • Take the shells, sausage mixture, and cheese mixture out of the refrigerator. Carefully fold in the cheese mixture into the sausage mixture.
  • Using a teaspoon, fill the shells with as much stuffing as you can, about 1/4 cup.
  • Place the shells, stuffed side up, on the sauce.
  • Ladle the remaining cup of sauce over the shells.
  • Sprinkle the shells with about 2 tablespoons of the grated Romano cheese and dot with butter.
  • Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake the shells for about 12 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the tops of the shells are slightly browned.
  • Serve the shell with remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese on the side.


Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1363mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1186IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 3mg
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