This Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe is creamy, comforting, easy to make ahead and freezer friendly! Perfect for freezer meal prep and busy weeknights.
Pasta and cheese and sauce is the way to my heart.
I mean, I’m pretty sure that these Ricotta Stuffed Shells are the way to anyone’s heart, but maybe there are actually people out there who don’t like cheese-stuffed pasta.
These Ricotta Stuffed Shells are something that doesn’t happen all that often around here — it’s a dish we tend to think of only on special occasions. But why is that?
These stuffed shells are so easy to make ahead and store in the refrigerator or freezer for later, that they are perfect for your weekend meal prep or freezer meal prep before a baby or busy time in your life.
Since we have lots of “busy times” in our lives, I should probably be taking more time to stock the freezer with comfort food essentials like this. Because when things get crazy (let’s say, week 10 of single momming or something like that 😉 ), just give me all the melty cheese.
I swear it makes it easier to get to bed time.
How do you make Stuffed Shells?
Stuffed shells are relatively easy to make if you have a few tricks up your sleeve! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Make sure your shells are cooked only to al dente (or a little less). If you cook them until they’re tender, they will fall apart when you try to fill them. A little firmer is perfect, since they will be baked again later.
- Use a large Ziploc bag or even a piping bag with the tip cut off to stuff the cheese into your shells — it will be done in record time and with less mess!
- Choose ingredients you like the taste of. If you don’t like basil, don’t add basil in. If you don’t like Ricotta, try cream cheese! Select a bottle of marinara with great taste and simple ingredients (or feel free to make your own!) because it’s going to add significant flavor to this recipe.
How to freeze stuffed shells and bake later:
To freeze, simply assemble up to the point of baking. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and again with foil.
Label the foil and include baking directions: “Ricotta Stuffed Shells: remove plastic, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbly.” It’s a good idea to spray the foil before recovering as the cheese may stick if it touches.
Stuffed shells can be frozen up to 3 months.
Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 24 jumbo pasta shells
- 475 grams extra smooth Ricotta cheese about 2 cups
- 225 grams frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta shells, reduce to a low boil, and cook just until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, and cool immediately by running under cold water.
- Stir together the Ricotta, spinach, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, parsley, basil, oregano and pepper. Place in a piping bag or large ziploc bag and snip the end off.
- Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick spray and spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Divide Ricotta mixture evenly between shells and place in prepared pan. You might have to squish a little to fit, that's okay.
- Top with remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly at the edges and cheese is melted. Serve.